Sunday 27 October 2013

Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese

After making the pumpkin doughnuts last week I had some pumpkin puree leftover. I ate a bit of it spread on toast (delicious with a pinch of cinnamon) but decided to use the rest to make something warm and comforting for dinner. What could be more warm and comforting than macaroni cheese? Only this macaroni cheese was given an extra autumnal twist from the earthy sweet pumpkin puree.

The sauce became a lovely golden orange colour when I added the pumpkin puree and produced an enticing roasted veg aroma. I grated in some freshly grated nutmeg which seemed to enhance the sweet nuttiness of the pumpkin. The puree itself somehow transformed the sauce from being delicious to something spectacular. It was so rich, creamy and velvety smooth that it tasted as though it had been made with cream, amazing considering the base was mainly vegetable puree.

Some people may be wondering what those little green speckles are in the macaroni cheese… they’re peas. I know adding peas to macaroni cheese is highly unconventional, but I love peas and think having a little freshness and pop from the peas, in contrast to the rich and creamy sauce is a welcome change, plus its colourful too. I’ve just thought, what with the sauce being pumpkin based and the addition of the peas, this macaroni cheese could almost be classed as healthy – not something you usually hear associated with macaroni cheese!

To serve, I spooned the pasta into deep bowls, topped with more cheese and gave them a quick bake in the oven. This created a golden and crisp top which I think is one of the best bits. It also adds another texture against the creamy stodgy (in a good way) sauce and pasta combo. The textures from crisp golden top, thick and creamy sauce and a little pop from the peas is delicious combination. The pumpkin had a wonderful flavour making the whole dish feel warming, autumnal and very comforting. This is perfect meal to enjoy curled up on the sofa as the rain lashes the windows outside.

Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese
20g butter
1 tbsp cornflour
130g pumpkin puree
300ml milk
2 handfuls grated cheddar cheese
100g frozen peas
Salt & pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Gluten free macaroni pasta for 2 people
Preheat the oven to 200C
Cook some gluten free macaroni, enough for 2 people, in boiling water until it is al-dente.
Meanwhile, add the butter to a large saucepan and heat until melted. Add the cornflour and whisk until smooth and a paste is starting to form. Add the pumpkin puree and mix to combine.
Slowly whisk in the milk and allow to come to a simmer, stirring occasionally. It should start to thicken into a thick and creamy sauce.
Add a generous grating of fresh nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
Once the sauce is thickened and creamy, stir in the frozen peas and three-quarters of the grated cheese. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the drained gluten free pasta to the sauce and stir to coat.
Spoon into two deep bowls or one larger dish and scatter over the remaining cheese and a little extra nutmeg.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden and crisp on top.
Eat and enjoy.


Johanna GGG said...

definitely comfort food for me because we had pumpkin and peas on the dinner plate so often in my childhood - though rarely together - I do love a good creamy pumpkin sauce on pumpkin these days too!

The Caked Crusader said...

I love how you've served these - a perfect little cup of comfort!

beachhutcook said...

What a clever idea.

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

I have been loving all your autumn inspired recipes! Have saved them everytime I check feedly on my phone and finally got around to pinning them all on my laptop this morning so that I can give them a try soon! This sounds SO delicious! I love pumpkin!

Choclette said...

Love macaroni cheese and the colour of yours is fantastic. What a good idea.