The recipe? There are several. I picked this one--and immediately tampered with the ingredients.
- 3 cups mostaccioli or penne pasta, uncooked; I used elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
- ¾ cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree; I used canned
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese; I used 4 oz sharp Cheddar
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Comte or Gruyere cheese; I used 4 oz more of sharp Cheddar
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg (optional); I used this
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Then I followed the directions.
When I first thought about making this, I realized I needed a pot large enough to cook pasta in. I bought a 6-quart stockpot last week. It's got a perforated insert that makes draining water from your pasta really easy, and it worked just fine.
But I didn't think about needing a sauce pan. To make the sauce, I pulled out my largest sauce pan, which isn't large at all. By the time I added two cups of milk and ¾ cup of pumpkin, there was no way I was getting 2½ cups of cheese in there too. So I put in as much as I could, and carried on with the recipe. Once I got everything in the baking pan, I put the rest of the cheese on top.
No room for more cheese
The oven was predictably unpredictable about temperature, but it's less critical in a dish like this since everything but the cheese actually was cooked before it got combined in the dish to be baked. All I really had to do was leave it in the oven long enough for the top to color up a bit.
It tasted wonderful. But it didn't taste very pumpkin-y. I think my sharp Cheddar cheese may have had a stronger taste and overwhelmed the pumpkin; or perhaps the recipe just needs more pumpkin. I think sometime I'll look up other pumpkin mac and cheese recipes and compare their ingredients to mine to see if it's the cheese or the amount of pumpkin--or both--that muffled the pumpkin taste.
But it looked lovely, and I've got leftovers in the fridge.
And I've added "2 qt sauce pan" to my shopping list.