A fun twist on Mac & Cheese!
BAKED PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE:
unsalted butter (for greasing)
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (TK-Libby’s)
1 cup full-fat yogurt
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 1/4 cup Pecorino romano (finely grated, divided)
1/2 lemon (juiced)
1 cup low-moisture mozzarella (freshly grated, divided)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 whole sage leaves (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400º F. Grease a casserole dish with butter, set aside.
For the Pumpkin Mac and Cheese: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking; in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, yogurt, stock, 1 cup of the Pecorino and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Add the hot drained pasta and reserved pasta water (if needed) to the bowl of pumpkin puree mixture and stir to combine. Add in 1/2 cup of mozzarella, stir to combine and then pour into buttered casserole dish. Set aside.
Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella, then evenly top with remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino and the sage breadcrumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 3-4 minutes before serving.
For the Sage Breadcrumbs: In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the sage and toast until golden brown and crisp, then stir in the panko. Continue to stir until panko is coated in butter and is light golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Tip: If your local market doesn’t carry Cavatappi pasta, elbow macaroni makes an excellent substitute!