I know most recipes like this go for the Mac ‘n’ Cheese title, but I’m Old Skool. It’s always been Macaroni Cheese to me. A lot of recipes tend to use penne pasta, which baffles me a bit. Shouldn’t it be called Pen ‘n’ Cheese then? Not got quite the same ring to it. This uses macaroni, for obvious reasons! This Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese is a Halloween treat.
I’ve Hallowe’ened (not sure if that’s a word, but it should be) it up a bit with Pumpkin Puree. The recipe for this is also on here, or you can buy it in cans, although it’s hard to find in the supermarkets and, if you are carving pumpkins anyway, you might as well use it to make a gorgeous meal too.
The white sauce creation can be tricky to perfect. I find using a wooden spoon initially breaks down the butter/flour paste and then use a whisk to smooth it out even more. It also doubles up as a workout to tone your arms.
The pumpkin adds that lovely sweet taste to the silky cheese sauce and the Dijon Mustard gives it a slight kick. Mustard and cheese are a match made in heaven. I have fond memories of my dad making me cheese and mustard sandwiches for lunch on a Saturday. His culinary skills were not vast, but this was a winner for me as a teenager.
The sage and garlic leave a lovely taste after each mouthful. I served this with a mountain of broccoli, but peas, spinach and asparagus would also go well. Pile up your plate with green veg. The more the merrier.
Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese is a filling dish that doubles up as comfort food on a cold Autumnal evening.
What other dishes do you love for Hallowe’en?
Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese
- 200 g Dry Macaroni
- 25 g Butter
- 25 g Plain Flour
- 500 ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
- 350 g Pumpkin Puree (see Pumpkin Puree recipe)
- 90 g Mature Finely Grated Cheese (split into 70g and 20g portions)
- 4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
- 2 tsp Dried Sage
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Set the oven to Gas Mark 6 or 200C.
- Lightly grease a 29cm x 21cm ceramic dish (or as close to this as you can get).
- Cook the macaroni according to instructions on the packet (usually about 10 minutes from boiling)
- Melt the butter in a large pan on a low heat.
- Add the flour to the butter and stir the two together for about 5 minutes until they form a paste (roux)
- Slowly add the milk to the roux. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes to reduce any lumps and to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Add the pumpkin puree to the white sauce and stir.
- Add the 70g portion of the grated cheese and stir until it has melted into the sauce.
- Add the garlic, sage, Dijon Mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked macaroni and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to the ceramic dish.
- Sprinkle the 20g portion of the grated cheese on top.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.