Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Goat Cheese and Panko is a really fun and delicious twist on traditional mac and cheese.
I have this thing for "mini" dishes. Like the not that convenient to make most recipes in and you
I usually end up using other dishes as well because what you made really fits in a much bigger pan? Those dishes. Dishes that are perfect for this Mac and Cheese dish I made. And not just any ordinary Mac and Cheese. Panko crusted with pumpkin and goat cheese.
But then I realized not many people might have these little dishes and make in a bigger pan and actually portion it out to maybe 4 servings. And it made for a really long title. So I left off the " for two". Because that really shortened it, huh?
How do you make pumpkin mac and cheese?
The recipe starts with boiling macaroni noodles to almost al dente. They finish baking in the oven so you don't want to over boil them.
This mac and cheese is surprisingly "light" for a typical rich, comfort type meal. Most mac and cheese dishes I have had or made in the past either have 12 different cheeses in them ( at that point can one even tell the difference between which cheese is which?) to ones with bacon, lobster ( uhhhhhh so so good) to a variety of other ingredients. I actually made this one night when it was one of those " I need to make dinner but I need to go to the grocery store more so lets just make something with whatever is in my fridge" nights. So I happened to have some leftover gruyere, a container of creamy goat cheese and some pumpkin puree leftover from a batch of pancakes I had made for my kids. Just the pumpkin was in the pancakes, not the cheese. Although cottage cheese makes for some super yummy pancakes. I should make some of those soon.
Anyway I thought these sounded unusual for ingredients for a mac and cheese dish but they came out so good! The pumpkin isn't too strong and the mellowness of the goat cheese and gruyere work really well together. Plush the panko gives it that nice crunch which I love about baked mac and cheese.
Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Goat Cheese and Panko
- 8 ounces of elbow macaroni
- Salt for pasta water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree either canned or homemade roasted pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces creamy goat cheese
- ¾ cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ⅔ cup freshly shredded parmesan
- Salt and pepper
- Spray two 4” x 4” mini baking dishes or one 8x8 baking dish with olive oil spray and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 deg f
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions until just al dente, drain and place in a large bowl
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until a paste forms then slowly add the milk a little at a time, whisking constantly keeping the mixture thick. Keep adding and once all the milk is added whisk until it’s the consistency of pudding. About 7 min. Add in the pumpkin, goat cheese, gruyere, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour into the bowl with the macaroni and mix until well combined. Spread the mixture evenly between the two dishes or in the one dish.
- In a small bowl combine the panko and parmesan and some freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of the baking dishes or dish.
- Bake for 25-30 min or until the tops are golden brown and pasta is bubbly. If the tops are browning too quickly, cover the pans with foil. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
This can easily be made gluten free by substituting a gluten free pasta and gluten free panko such as Ian's brand http://www.iansnaturalfoods.com/our-food/product/af-gluten-free-panko-breadcrumbs
I had to stop eating it before I made sure I had enough pictures. Then I realized a pic of the dish half eaten would be good. And I forgot to take it. oops