Y’all know it’s that time of the year. Thanksgiving is tomorrow (I can’t WAIT!!), the weather is getting chillier, and comfort food is a must.
So whether you’re looking for a last-minute side dish to bring for dinner tomorrow or if you’re simply craving something cheesy, this is your dish. It’s made with whole wheat shells (you can use regular pasta too!) and there are three kinds of cheese.
I had about 10 people taste test this dish, and I think it’s safe to say that this recipe is a keeper. The dish also feeds a ton of people so if you’re going to a big event, this mac and cheese is perfect!
The pumpkin flavor doesn’t over power the dish and the crispy sage that’s thrown into the breadcrumb topping is amazing.
The sage is cooked in butter…
…and then the browned butter and sage are mixed into the panko/bread crumbs.
The breadcrumbs are sprinkled over the cheesy pasta and then the pasta is thrown in the oven so that all of the flavors can combine nicely.
Seriously, if you’re still thinking about what side dish to bring to dinner tomorrow night or what you should make with that left over pumpkin in the fridge, think no further. You won’t regret it!
Here are a few other pumpkin recipes suggestions in case you’re not a fan of mac and cheese:
Pumpkin Butter (Vegan and Gluten Free)
But I mean…c’mon, who’s not a fan of mac and cheese?!
I’ll be heading back to Sonoma County for a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving with the fam. I’m so excited! I haven’t seen them in a while so it will be nice to spend some quality time with my big, wonderful family.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with love, hugs, and lots of food! :)
This recipe was adapted from Jonathan over at The Candid Appetite. Go and check out his wonderful photos!
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta shells, or any cut of pasta you like
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup homemade pumpkin purée, or canned
- 2 cups (loosely) grated sharp white cheddar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 1/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 3 tablespoons of chopped sage, chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Cook pasta as directed on package but then drain it about a minute or so before the full cook time. (This leaves the pasta slightly undercooked so it can finish cooking when we bake the dish.) Set pasta aside.
- In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk the combo until it smells lightly nutty.
- Then slowly pour in the milk while constantly whisking the mixture.
- Let the milk come to a simmer so it can thicken a bit (you can tell it’s thick enough if it can coat the back of a wooden spoon without running down the spoon).
- Once the mixture is thickened, add the the mustard, salt, black pepper, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, and crushed red pepper.
- Stir in the pumpkin until it is fully incorporated into the mixture.
- Turn off the stove and then add 2 cups of sharp white cheddar, 1/2 cup parmesan, and 1/4 cup monterey jack. Mix everything together until the cheese is melted.
- Add in the pasta and mix together.
- Pour the pasta/cheese mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and melt 2 Tbs of butter.
- Add the chopped sage and cook until crispy.
- Stir and move pan constantly so the butter doesn’t burn but develops a nutty flavor (browned butter!).
- In a large bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, plain breadcrumbs, and some salt (to taste). Then mix in the butter/sage combo.
- Sprinkle he breadcrumb mixture over the pasta evenly and then add a few whole sage leaves to the dish for garnish before putting it in the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately.