Why in the world have I waited so long to start cooking with pumpkin? No obviously I’ve baked with pumpkin, but until now- savory pumpkin recipes were nothing but a figment of my imagination. But they are here and now I can’t get enough. The mild nutty flavor that lends itself so well to spices, sugar and pretty much every baked good you can think of is also delicious when swirled into cheese sauce. I mean pretty much everything is good in cheese sauce, but still.
Though I’m not quite at that stage yet with my own little one, I imagine this recipe would be a great way to sneak some veggies in for picky eaters. (I’m hoping the fact that Hugo eats Indian food like a boss is a sign he’ll continue to eat anything and everything!?) I for one couldn’t really taste a strong pumpkin flavor- it blends right into the creamy cheesiness and adds just a touch of something. Warm, cheesy, a bit toasty- are these adjectives helping?
Can you believe it’s already October? I think this has to be my favorite month of the year, especially my favorite month in New York. I remember last October so vividy, my big belly waddling around the city feeling hopeful and restless. Now I have an 8 month old with 5 teeth who pulls himself up, crawls, said Dada (tear,) and is just a little teeny human. How has he never known October? I’m looking forward to feeding him all sorts of savory pumpkin deliciousness this month…my little pumpkin!
- 16 oz small shell or macaroni pasta
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3-4 cups milk
- 16 oz grated cheese
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1.5 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or thyme
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Rinse and set aside.
- In a large saunce pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk with butter until golden brown. Add 1 cup of milk and rosemary and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of milk and stir constantly until thick and bubbly. (This will take a few minutes.)
- Add all but a small handful of the grated cheese to the sauce and stir until melted. Stir in the pumpkin puree and paprika- add salt & pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Pour into a 9x13 casserole pan and top with the panko and remaining cheese
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving.