Hello all! So, if you tuned in for this week’s Monday Coffee Break where I listed my best finds for lightened up comfort foods, you know that I left one recipe a mystery…until now! You know I wouldn’t leave you hanging. This pumpkin mac and cheese is nothing short of an amazing and healthy solution to my devilishly indulgent constant craving for cheese and cream laden mac and cheese.
Now, I’m not going to lie. You are not going to stick your fork in this and have a trail of melty, gooey cheese stretching from the bowl to your mouth (see, now I want that. damn it.) BUT, WAIT! you will still have the lovely creamy texture, the crispy browned topping, and yes, even cheese experience. Plus the added bonus that you can eat this pretty much as often as you want and not feel bad about it…or have to start wearing a gurdle (please see this week’s Monday Coffee Break post for this lovely photo).
1 pound short pasta, like penne
1 15 ounces can pumpkin puree, or 15 ounces fresh pumpkin puree
1 ¾ cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded Gruyere
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
Salt & Pepper
bread crumb topping:
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp italian seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil
(mix all o of this together in a bowl and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese right before you bake it)
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Cook the pasta until just al dente and drain. Set aside in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the pumpkin and milk until completely smooth. Then add a pinch of salt and pepper, the thyme, and the gruyere cheese. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the pasta and mix well.
4. Pour the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the pasta is heated through.
If you use a whole wheat pasta, this dish is even better for you. I used regular semolina though, because you can’t take everything from me diet!
If you are having a hectic day,you can prep this whole dish ahead of time, pop it in the fridge, then simply sprinkle the topping and bake at meal time.
*This recipe was adapted from The Naptime Chef (LOVE btw)