Made With Love Recipe #3: Pumpkin Mac n' Cheese

A divine and deceptively light interpretation of the creamy, cheesy, dreamy holy grail of all comfort food – Mac-n-cheese!

It’s a little more decadent than the other recipes we’ve featured, but still reasonably forgiving with the vegetables we’ve managed to sneak in. What could hurt in moderation? Pumpkin puree is our secret ingredient that lightens up this indulgent classic. Its pillow-y texture marries perfectly with the sauce and adds an extra depth of flavour and sweetness that enhances the cheese. It’s the best Mac-n-Cheese you’ve ever tasted!

Serves four

1tbsp olive oil
½ chopped large yellow onion
2 cups of chopped mushrooms
1 ½ TB unsalted butter (a fresher, cleaner taste than salted, but both will work)
2 TB plain flour
2 cups of low-fat milk
½ beaten egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
¾ cup of sliced cheddar (feel free to experiment with different cheese combinations!)
¾ cup pumpkin puree (Blend steamed pumpkin flesh with a dash of water and milk till a smooth texture is achieved)
200g dry macaroni pasta
A handful of chopped kale (any vegetable would be a great addition! You could also add more to substitute the pasta.)

1. Heat up the olive oil in a pan over medium low fire. Saute the chopped onions until soft and add chopped mushrooms. Cover the pan for about a minute for them to soften.
2. Stir around occasionally. When the onions turn translucent, spoon everything out into a small bowl.
*You might want to start heating up the pasta water at this point.
3. Using the same pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add in the flour and stir continuously till you get a uniform texture. This is your butter roux – the main thickening agent of the cheese sauce.
4. Keep the stirring game strong while you pour in the milk gradually (you don’t want to end up with pockets of un-dissolved roux) until you get a velvety texture. Add the salt and pepper and leave it to cook over low fire.
5. Drizzle over the beaten egg a few tablespoons of warm sauce and mix. While stirring the sauce, pour the egg mixture right in.
6. Stir in the cheese and keep going until it’s all melty, smooth and good. Add in the pumpkin puree and remove from heat.
7. Boil the macaroni two minutes less than the time stated on the package. Throw in the kale a minute before time’s up. While waiting, preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
8. Drain and transfer everything to a deep baking dish. Combine with the onions, mushrooms and cheese sauce.
Lightly cover dish with an aluminium foil and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes.
9. Remove from oven. Serve perfection.

All this recipe calls for is simple ingredients and some focus in the kitchen, so try it today!


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