Mac and Cheese + Pumpkin Puree!

When I saw Pumpkin Mac & Cheese on Never Home Maker’s blog, I knew I needed to make it immediately for 4 reasons:

1. I still had some chopped pumpkin leftover from when I made pumpkin risotto.

2. I had some plain pasta in the fridge that needed to be used up.

3. Dan hasn’t been feeling great the past few days, so I wanted to make some “health-ified” comfort food for him.

4. It looked so easy!


And easy it was. Tasty, too! I’ll definitely be making this again. :)


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Let’s pretend that the pumpkin puree in this picture is smooth. I broke my food processor at the end of last week (and don’t have a blender), so I did what I could. You better believe I will be fixing the processor before pumpkin REALLY comes into season!

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

(slightly adapted from Never Home Maker)

2 c cooked spaghetti

2/3 c pumpkin puree (see note at end of the recipe)

1 T olive oil

1 T whole wheat flour

1/2 c milk

3/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar

1/4 c. shredded Parmesan

salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the flour and stir for about 1 minute, or until thick.

Add the milk and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and cheese and season to taste. Keep stirring until everything is gooey and melted. Stir in the pasta, and you’re done!

I served this with some sauteed green beans and roasted chickpeas (since I left the bean puree out of the mac and cheese). Delicious!


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Note: How to make squash puree to enjoy year-round!

Because I’ve been striving to eat local as much as possible, I have decided to make my own pumpkin puree, instead of buying it canned. My plan is to buy a bunch of pumpkins when they are at their peak (and therefore cheapest!) and make puree to freeze. By buying at the peak of the season, I may actually save some money on pumpkin! Plus, if there is another canned pumpkin shortage this year, I’ll still have my own. :)

This will work for any winter squash, so go ahead and freeze some butternut, acorn, or delicata squash as well to use in soups, baked goods, risotto, or pasta until they are in season again!

Frozen Squash Puree

The only ingredient: Any amount of winter squash

Preheat the oven to 350*F. While it heats, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. (Set the seeds aside to roast for a snack!)

Place the squash cut-side down in a large baking dish with 1/2 c water.

Roast at 350*F for 45-60 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and starting to pull away from the peel.

Allow the squash to cool, then scoop out the flesh. Using a blender or food processor, puree the flesh until smooth. Fill freezer-safe containers with the puree, leaving as little space for air as possible. Label and freeze!


Have you tried any fantastic blogger recipes lately? Please share the links and spread the love below!

PS: I added a “Cooking How-To” page to the Smart Food dropdown. I will be updating it regularly, so check it out!

Comments

  1. says

    Last fall was the first time I ever made real pumpkin puree… it took forever but made SOOO much I couldn’t believe it!!! If I was slightly less lazy I would do the same thing you are doing, but it just takes sooo long haha. Can’t wait to see how it goes when you do it, maybe I’ll be inspired :)

  2. says

    Oh my goodness, this looks awesome. I don’t have pumpkin on-hand, but this is enough to make me go out and get some. And I think my husband–who’s notoriously difficult to please when it comes to health foods–will actually enjoy this.

  3. says

    Do you think there’s a difference between baking the squash and microwaving it (upside down on a plate, with a little water)? I’ve tried both; wondering if you’ve noticed a difference?

  4. says

    The fresh pureed pumpkin gave the mac and cheese (I used elbow macaroni) a great orange color that made it look like a richer cheese dish than it was. I also added a little squirt of mustard to make the cheese flavor more sharp. The pumpkin flavor came through. I added a little salt to my teens’ plates to camoflage it a bit more (not pumpkin fans). They liked it! And didn’t figure out the secret ingredient. :-)

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