Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oh, yeah... (~sigh~)

A friend talked about making pumpkin mac and cheese for dinner the other night. It sounded wonderful, so I Googled to find the recipe.

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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.

Mostly.

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.

IMAG0698
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.

3 comments:

florafloraflora said...

Mmmm, I love pumpkin mac 'n cheese, and yours looks gorgeous. I just bought a butternut squash. Think I know what I'll do with at least half of it.

KF-in-Georgia said...

A friend of mine posted this link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/50-mac-cheese-recipes/index.html

She said the second recipe (butternut squash and blue cheese) was excellent.

avantaknits said...

I've never heard of pumpkin mac 'n cheese! In reading the ingredients, I would guess the sharp cheddar is what overpowered the pumpkin. Gruyere and Monterey Jack are much milder. I use Gruyere when I make quiche: just enough cheese flavor without masking the taste of any other ingredients.