Pumpkin Mac and Cheese will quickly become your favorite fall meal. This family-friendly, easy recipe is a guaranteed winner!
Fall hit quickly in our house this year. It seems like one day it was summer, and the next I was pulling all my sweaters out of storage, swapping out flip flops for booties, and cooking all the comfort foods like this Lentil & Sausage Soup, this Easy Roasted Chicken, and this Slow Cooker Lamb Curry.
But this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is the ultimate of all comfort foods.
Why is this Pumpkin Mac & Cheese so good?
- Creamy pumpkin
- Perfectly cooked pasta shells
- Not only cheddar…
- But parmesan too!
And I’ve got a tip for you to make the absolute best Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (it’s the same one I put to use in my Instant Pot Mac and Cheese) – use evaporated milk!
Why Use Evaporated Milk in Mac and Cheese?
- Evaporated milk is essentially thickened milk, which means there’s less liquid in your dish and instead it’s just really, really creamy. I love how it blends right in and thickens this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese to the perfect consistency, along with that sharp cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese that lend the perfect tangy, cheesy flavor.
I’ve got another secret tool in my arsenal for making this easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.
I recently discovered the Calphalon Classic™ Nonstick 14-Pc. Cookware Set with No Boil-Over Inserts.
How many of you have been busy in the kitchen, gathering ingredients, chopping, etc. only to find that your pot of pasta cooking on the stove has started to boil over?
The Calphalon No-Boil Insert puts a stop to messy spills when making pasta (or rice, potatoes, etc.) because it recirculates boiling water back into the pot. Meaning that you can focus on other things – i.e. making the amazing pumpkin-cheese sauce for this mac & cheese. There’s even a hole in the top for stirring, so you can ensure those pasta shells don’t stick together.
Look for the Calphalon Classic™ Nonstick 14-Pc. Cookware Set with No Boil-Over Inserts at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Tip: Be sure to cook your pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the recommended cook time on the package. Because we’ll be combining the pasta with the warm cheese sauce at the end, the pasta will continue to cook. Cooking to just shy of all dente will ensure that your pasta isn’t mushy or overcooked at the end.
How to Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
To make the pumpkin-cheese sauce melt some butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then we’ll add the evaporated milk and bring it to a simmer so that when you whisk in the pumpkin and cheeses, they’ll melt perfectly into the sauce. Season with mustard (for a good tang), nutmeg and a bit of salt and give it a taste. Adjust with more or less to your liking.
I love using the Calphalon Classic™ Nonstick 3 Qt. Saute Pan for the cheese sauce. I love that it’s nonstick, which means that cleanup is super easy. And I also love that it’s large enough so that you can add the pasta right to the sauce and give it a good toss.
Tip: Be sure to reserve some of your pasta cooking water before draining. You can add the starchy liquid to your mac & cheese at the end if you find that it’s too thick.
To finish off this Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, I went simple and sprinkled on some finely chopped chives. You’ll want to be sure that you use a sharp knife. In the past, I’ve always struggled with keeping my knives sharp.
But, I recently discovered the Calphalon® Contemporary SharpIN™ Nonstick 13-Piece Cutlery Set. It has built-in ceramic sharpeners that automatically sharpen your knives with every use. How cool is that?! Also, their knives are coated with a nonstick coating, meaning that food doesn’t stick to your knife when you’re slicing and chopping.
Tip: You can also use scissors to snip the chives.
Pumpkin Mac & Cheese Add-Ins:
- Swap out the chives for fried sage leaves.
- Add some chopped chipotle peppers to add some spice.
- Top with some crumbled bacon.
- Add some blue cheese.
- Stir in some browned sausage.
- Roasted Fennel Pasta with Ricotta
- Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes
- Pea & Bacon Pasta
- Pasta Alla Vodka
- Easy Lemon Pasta
Wine Pairings for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese:
- Try an off-dry Riesling. The slight sweetness of the wine balances out the salty cheese and its bright acidity refreshes your palate.
- Looking for red wine to pair with mac and cheese? Try a Lambrusco or Spanish Grenache. Both are light-bodied enough to not overpower this dish, and their ripe, juicy flavors, make a great match for this rich, cheesy dish.
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. pasta shells or macaroni
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 can (12 oz. evaporated milk)
- 1 can (15 oz. pure pumpkin)
- 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Salt (to taste)
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese grated
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finely chopped chives (for serving)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add evaporated milk and bring to a simmer. Whisk in pumpkin, mustard, and nutmeg. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt.
- Add pasta to the sauce and stir until coated, adding some of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is too thick.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately, topped with chives if desired.
I teamed up with Calphalon to bring you this post. As always, all opinions are my own.