Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Pumpkin-White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Posted: September 14th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 26 Comments »

Alright folks, here it is (without photos for the time being, because my hard drive hates me) :

The Mac O’ Lantern!!!
This is the recipe I used in competition at the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment today, and big ups to all the people who loved it and to whom I gave the site info. I hope you like this, I hope you make this, it’s getting to be fall (sniffle, sniffle, sob) and while I miss summer, I love gourds, and since pumpkin is (I think) a gourd, here we go:

1/2 yellow onion, diced.
2 tablespoons each butter and olive oil.
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups stock (veggie or chicken stock work best)
2 cups milk (whole milk is the only kind of milk I’ll recognize here)
1/4 cup canned pumpkin (or more, to taste. I used more in the competition version, but then again I made a few gallons of it)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a little less than 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
3/4 pound of cheese — half SUPER sharp white cheddar, half mellower jack or cheddar
1 pound of pasta, boiled in salted water and drained (I use Cellentani in competition, which is just Cavatappi with ridges, although I’m also preferable to Campanelle, which is little flower shapes.

1. Put the butter, olive oil and diced onion into a pan on medium heat. cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onions soften. You’re not looking to sweat them. Just make them soft.
2. Sprinkle in the 3 tablespoons of flour and stir to make a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes. You want it to stop tasting like flour, but the longer you cook a dry roux, the less thickening power it has.
3.  Whisk in the liquids. I usually go with the stock, THEN the milk, although if you prefer, you could do milk first. Season with the Cumin, Cayenne and Nutmeg. Whisk well, and don’t be concerned if the spices float on the top. Something about the milk keeps them from absorbing, I think.
4. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. You want it to coat the back of your spoon.  Then, add the pumpkin and stir well to make sure everything is mixed in. Simmer for 2-3 more minutes, then add your shredded cheese.
5. Once the cheese is incorporated, add in your drained pasta.
From here, you could either bake it at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or you could crumble up some biscuits, or throw some breadcrumbs on top and broil it for a few, depending on whether you prefer your mac & cheese soupy or more solid. In general, I prefer the soupier versions, because they’re closer to the Kraft from my childhood, but go with whatever you like.

Thanks again to Alyssa, Bakezilla, Steele, Laura, Jess, Alex, Kristin and of course, Jesse, for all the help and support you gave me over the past 3 days. Next time, I promise it will be less stressful. :)


26 Comments on “Pumpkin-White Cheddar Mac & Cheese”

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