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spoonforkbacon.com · Oct 12, 2012

Pumpkin Thyme Mac and Cheese

Hey Guys! Thank you so much for all of your awesome support in making our book release such a fun and successful time for us! Thank you, thank you!! The winners of our Tiny Food Giveaway are: Kate with her awesome/unique answer of “Mini Crabbies” and our randomly chosen winner Madelana. Congrats you two!! We’ll be emailing you each shortly! Now to food!

Around this time of year you see one thing pop up EVERYWHERE. Pumpkins. Oh pumpkins, how I love you so…. and also totally jump on the hoarding pumpkin ale, lattes and ice cream wagon. There’s just something so quintessentially ‘autumn’ about pumpkins and the flavor they embody. Even beyond food, I think it reminds people that scarf and cozy sweater season is creeping its way into homes (yay!) and in some places that the leaves are beginning to get really beautiful. It’s also the time of year where you begin to feel that perfect crisp air in the morning as you step out your door and take in your first deep breath of fresh air. Yup, pumpkins and fall….swoooon!

So in honor of pumpkins, their awesomeness and the nice chilly weather we’re finally getting here in LA, we have pumpkin mac and cheese infused with thyme for you to whip up this weekend! I really enjoy using pumpkin in my baked goods (more of that later this month!), but I LOVE using it in savory dishes. Last year we had our Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops…so good! This mac and cheese combo may seem a little odd, but the pumpkin is subtle enough with the creaminess of the sauce/cheeses and the thyme sort of brings everything together. This dish is perfect for this time of year and I urge you all to make it this weekend, cozy up with someone special and enjoy! xx, Jenny

Pumpkin, Thyme Mac and Cheese
Serves 4 to 5

2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1 lb dry fusilli pasta (can substitute elbow macaroni)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons minced thyme
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ounces smoked gouda, shredded
1 ounce white extra sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium saucepan and stir together. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil add a generous amount of salt (2½ – 3 tablespoons) and then the pasta.
3. Boil pasta for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and set aside.
4. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and whisk together. Allow mixture to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in thyme.
5. Whisk pumpkin-milk mixture into flour mixture and continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Allow mixture to simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Place shredded cheese into a mixing bowl and toss together with lemon juice.
7. Stir cheese into the béchamel sauce and stir until cheese just melts. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and gently stir pasta into the sauce, ½ cup at a time until all of the pasta has been added and is fully coasted in sauce. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

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