This Roast Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is comforting and creamy, and brimming with pumpkin flavour
Roast Pumpkin. Mac and Cheese.
That is all!
I’m done 🙂
Ha! Just joking of course. Let me tell you more. That rich, classic comfort food, mac and cheese. It’s perfect for the weekends, always a hit with the kids and an easy side to serve up for a gathering. I don’t know about you but I can’t help but feel cosy when I dig that fork in, lift it then hear that gooey, slurpy sound that can only be this!
This mac and cheese, with a bit of twist, is perfect for this time of year. Here in Australia it’s still cool enough to crave homey, comforting bowls of goodness like this. In the Northern hemisphere, it’s coming into Fall and the time of year to crave homey, comforting bowls of goodness like this.
I didn’t grow up with Mac and Cheese but I’m sure making up for it. The moment I discovered it, my mind was blown. I mean, I love pasta and I love cheese and comfort food is right up there on my
weekend devouring priority list, so how the heck did I never discover Mac and Cheese before adulthood? This would be the stuff kids dreams are made of.
I have mentioned, I’m slow to catch on, right? Yup.
Well, anyway my Roast Pumpkin Mac and Cheese uses a good old cheddar (just use your favourite) and mozzarella for some melty, stringy fun. I added the pumpkin because, well, I love roasted pumpkin (butternut squash to be precise, but you know tomayto / tomahto) and they had a huge display of them when I went grocery shopping.
I’m such an impulse buyer. Put it on a big stand, right near the entrance and I want it. Avocado, raspberries, celeriac, dandelion greens ….. ummm …., sure. I have nothing planned but when you put them in front of me, I suddenly need them. Sucker!! Thank goodness the entrance is in front of the fruit and vegetable section. Imagine if it was big, beckoning stands of chocolate (as if I need help buying that!!!!).
For some crunch, I added a nice little crumb, which consists of sourdough crumbs, parsley, garlic and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – officially my favourite seed. Then I added a side of pumpkin chips for a side dish and devoured this for dinner. The pumpkin chips are so easy. Just use a mandolin (watch your fingers) or a speed peeler to peel strips of pumpkin and then deep fry them in an inch of oil until the edges start to brown. Drain on paper towel and allow them to cool. Voila, pumpkin chips.
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- 500 g butternut squash, cubed
- 1 french shallot, whole & unpeeled (or 1/2 small red onion)
- 2 1/2 cups 625ml milk
- 300 g dried macaroni or elbow pasta
- 25 g butter
- 2 tablespoons flour - (note 1)
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 125g mozzarella
- 1 cup 125g cheddar
- Pepper to taste
- 2 slices fresh or day old sourdourgh
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds / pepitas - (note 1)
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped - (note 1)
- pumpkin chips to serve - (note 2)
ROAST THE VEGETABLES:
- Preheat the oven to oven to 220C / 425F / 200C fan forced. Line a baking tray with foil and spray liberally with oil spray or wipe over some olive oil. Arrange pumpkin cubes and onion on the tray in single layer. Spray a little more oil over the top, then sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and starting to caramelise around the edges.
- Remove the skin from the roasted onion and put the pumpkin, onion and ½ cup of milk into a blender. Puree until smooth.
TO MAKE THE CRUMB:
- In a blender, blend the sourdough to crumbs. Add a small amount of oil to a frypan. Saute the garlic and crumbs together until starting to turn golden. Add the pumpkin seeds / pepitas until toasted. Remove from heat and add the parsley. Mix well.
FOR THE MAC AND CHEESE:
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, then add your pasta and cook according to packet instructions until just al dente.
- In a saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the butter then add the flour and stir well (this is a roux). Continue to stir gently until it starts to look frothy. A little at a time, add the remaining milk and use a whisk to whisk it into a smooth paste.
- Add the pumpkin puree, ground nutmeg and salt, whisk to combine. Add both cheeses and stir with a spoon continuously until completely melted and you have a thick smooth cheese sauce. Add pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle with a little of the crumb mixture and serve immediately with the remaining crumb on the side.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
- To make the pumpkin chips: Use a speed peeler to peel around 30 long thin strips of pumpkin / squash. Heat one inch of oil in a deep saucepan. It’s hot enough when a pumpkin strip sizzles straight away. Carefully drop in a few pumpkin strips at a time until they just start to brown on the edges, then remove and allow to drain on paper towel.