“Pumpkin is a simple way to incorporate local flavor and nutrition into this dish,” says Chef Josh Kroner of Terrapin. “Try roasting a baking pumpkin ahead of time and making your own puree; it’s a completely different flavor from what you’ll get out of a can.”
P.S. Want to take your pumpkin macaroni a DIY step further? Try making your own breadcrumbs by pulsing day-old bread in a blender for an extra-special touch. Your dinner party guests will thank you (and probably ask you for the recipe).
Makes one 2-quart casserole
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ lb. elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups milk
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente (according to instructions on the package).
While pasta is cooking, heat a medium-size saucepan over high heat and melt butter. Add flour and cook while stirring for one minute. Pour in the milk while whisking and bring to a boil, continuing to whisk constantly. Sauce will start to thicken as it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low, and stir in pumpkin purée and half the cheese. Stir until all cheese is incorporated in sauce and remove from heat.
When pasta is cooked, drain water and pour directly into the sauce. Mix well. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish and pour in pasta mix. Top with remaining grated cheese and bread crumbs and bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned on top. Cool slightly before serving.