Ultimate Brown Butter-Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Prep Time 0:15
- Cook Time 0:30
- Estimated Cost $12
- 12 Comments
Brown Butter-Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is probably my best-known recipe, thanks to its rich texture (despite the comparatively-minimal amount of cheese called for) and unique pumpkin flavor. It makes for a great side dish or vegetarian main year-round, but on Thanksgiving, I like to make it a little extra-decadently. I add sweet caramelized onions, extra cheese, use half-and-half instead of milk and give the whole thing a crunchy breadcrumb topping. Every year it’s a unanimous favorite at my Thanksgiving table—I hope this year you’ll share it at yours.
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni, penne, shells or other small pasta shape $1 for 14 oz.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter plus more for the pan $1 for a stick
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped $0.50 for a whole onion
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour Pantry
- 3/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half $1 for a pint
- 3/4 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin $1.50 for a 15-oz. can
- 1 cup plus 4 tbsp shredded aged white cheddar cheese $3.50 for 8 oz.
- dash nutmeg $1.50 for 1 oz.
- salt and pepper to taste Pantry
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs $2 for 8 oz.
Recipe Serves 6-8
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter an 11"x13" baking pan or 4 ramekins/oven-proof bowls
- Cook macaroni in salted boiling water according to package directions.
- While macaroni cooks, melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, to allow the onions to caramelize.
- Turn heat up to medium and cook, just until butter begins to brown.
- Add the flour and whisk until you have a very sticky dough.
- Continue whisking the butter-onion-flour mixture for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the milk or half-and-half a little at a time, to form a thick sauce.
- Continue whisking as you add the pumpkin and the cup of the white cheddar. You should have a very creamy orange sauce.
- Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the sauce over the pasta and stir to coat the pasta evenly.
- Scrape the sauced pasta into the prepared pan(s) and top with the reserved cheddar and the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cheese is very bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Serve hot.