Chipotle Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese

aaCan you believe it’s already the middle of October? This month has just flown by. Don’t worry – you won’t find this girl complaining, that just means we’re that much closer to welcoming our baby girl into the world. If you could see the ear-to-ear grin I’m currently wearing you would understand.

Don’t be too surprised that I’ve decided to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. How can you not find some way to sneak in this seasonal delight into a favorite dish when the local markets are practically placing them in your shopping cart? I fell victim to it. After a couple trips to the market and a few “are you smuggling a pumpkin under your shirt?” wise cracks, I picked up a few pumpkins and made some puree. Storing the puree in mason jars is probably one of the most genius thing I’ve read, it makes it so easy to have fresh organic pumpkin puree on hand to add to your classic dishes like cookies, pies and pasta.

After drooling over the pumpkin raviolis at my local market, I knew I wanted to incorporate this into a pasta dish rather than a traditional sweet dish such as bread or cookies – although I may have to make a loaf or two. Macaroni and Cheese is such a great classic dish that can really be transformed to fit your liking. My husband’s favorite is Lobster Mac and I have got to admit that it is pretty delicious. So, why not pumpkin macaroni and cheese? Hence this recipe. Adding the chipotle gave it the perfect spice to warm you up on a chilly October night – not that us Southern Californians know anything about chilly evenings in October, but I digress. Have a great weekend everybody!

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Chipotle Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese
Makes 6 Generous Servings

4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
¼ Cup of Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Organic Chicken Stock
1 Cup of Organic Whole Milk
¼ teaspoon of Cayenne Powder
1 teaspoon of Black Pepper, freshly cracked
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
1 ½ Cups of Fresh Pumpkin Puree

2 Cups of Chipotle Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated (you should be able to find this at any specialty market.)
½ Cup of Irish Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
16 ounces of Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta

Optional
Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
Fresh Basil or Fresh Sage for garnish

Method

In a large stockpot over a medium flame, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook until a nice tan roux has formed. Try not to let the roux burn.

Remove the stockpot from the heat and add in the chicken stock and milk. Place the stockpot back over the flame and allow it to simmer until thickened – about one minute.

Add the pumpkin puree and shredded cheeses while stirring constantly to evenly mix and melt. Mix in the spices: cayenne, pepper and salt along with the Dijon mustard. Continue to simmer and stir until desired thickness.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta as directed – approximately 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold the sauce into the pasta to evenly coat. Serve warm.

Note I have to say this was yummier the next day, I threw the leftovers in a baking dish and sprinkled the top with whole wheat Panko bread crumbs and baked it for about 15 minutes at 350°F – it was delicious!

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