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Pumpkin Mac "n" Cheese with Bacon, 10/26/12

Jason Knapp

UCA

1pound elbow macaroni

4cups milk

2sprigs thyme

4cloves garlic,chopped

3tablespoons unsalted butter

3tablespoons all-purpose flour

15oz can Pumpkin Puree

6cups shredded sharp Cheddar

KosherSalt

Freshlyground black pepper

1/4cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

4slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips

1large onion, diced

2garlic cloves, chopped

Directions

Cook Macaroni to boxspecifications.{}

Preheat the oven to400 degrees F.

In a small saucepanheat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in alarge, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook forabout 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Whisk it milkinto the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook untilthe mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the canned pumpkin and 5 cups of thecheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt andpepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coatthe macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a {}baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cupcheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

While that bakes, heata saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion,garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion.Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove thymesprig and scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese.

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