Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Smoked Gouda:
Growing up in Florida with Halloween night at 80 degree temperatures seems foreign to me now having spent the better part of twenty years enjoying the crisp New England Fall weather. There’s a seemingly ironic axiom when it comes to Halloween, tradition, and the need to indulge when people say, “But, that’s not how we usually do it.” However, putting the preverbal spin on tradition when it comes to cooking seems much easier, perhaps because turning classic recipes upside down is just fun. This mac and cheese was blissful. The Cavatappi adds an added twist (pun intended), as too does the tender pumpkin chunks and crispy panko topping. As always, there was one ingredient that rose to the surface and made this even more unique, by design of course. The smoky and creaminess of the Gouda cheese really brought a complex layer to this dish and delivered an untraditional result. As the doorbell rings on this hallow eve, I’m tempted to just put a bowl of treats at the front door with a sign that reads – “Not today, it’s Pumpkin Mac & Cheese night.”
SECRET INGREDIENT: Smoked Gouda
TIP: Undercook the pumpkin to keep a firmness texture that compliments the creamy pasta
Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Smoked Gouda
- Sugar Pumpkin (medium, seeds removed and cut into thick wedges)
- Cavatappi pasta (1 lb)
- Butter (3 Tbsp)
- Flour (3 Tbsp)
- Milk (4 cups)
- Fresh Rosemary (2 tsp minced)
- Smoked Gouda cheese (8 oz, grated)
- Austrian Tilsit cheese (8 oz, grated)
- Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
- Truffle salt (1/4 tsp)
- Fresh black pepper
- Pumpkin puree (1/2 cup)
- Panko breadcrumbs (1 cup)
- Garlic powder 1/4 tsp)
- Onion powder (1/4 tsp)
- Cayenne (pinch x2)
- Parmesan Reggiano (1/4 cup, grated)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- On baking sheet lined with parchment, place pumpkin wedges and drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake pumpkin for 20 minutes until cooked, but still firm. Remove from oven and let cool, then remove skin and cut into bite size cubes.
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water until just al dente. Then drain, rinse, and set aside.
- In sauce pan over medium high heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk together to make roux. Add 2 cups milk and the rosemary and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of the milk and continue to whisk. Cook for 5 minutes while whisking continuously.
- Add grated cheese and stir well. Season with salt and pepper followed by the pumpkin puree and nutmeg. Then remove from heat and toss sauce with pasta and cubed pumpkin pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix together the panko, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and parmesan.
- Butter a baking dish and fill with pasta and sauce. Top with panko mixture.
- Bake in oven at 425°F uncovered for 10 minutes until panko mixture is just crisp and golden.
-- Weather When Posted --
- Temperature: 42°F;
- Humidity: 65%;
- Heat Index: 42°F;
- Wind Chill: 36°F;
- Pressure: 29.98 in.;