Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

I’ve been a Texas Rangers fan for basically my whole life. Over 15 years fosho.

If you’ve followed the Rangers at all throughout the years, you know that there were (a lot of) times when things were pretty ugly. Like 30-games-behind-first-place-by-July ugly. But, man, it didn’t matter to me. There was never and still isn’t anything that tops going to the Ballpark in Arlington and watching a baseball game with my daddy. I love the Rangers’ organization with all my heart, and my love has only intensified over the years.

When they started to win, man, did I feel validated.

And when they lost the World Series two years in a row, man, did I feel crushed.

Watching the World Series slip from one strike away (TWICE) into the Cardinals hands was intensely, soul-crushingly horrific. I couldn’t sleep for a few hours even though I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

I woke up the next day physically tired and sore. I love hard, okay?

I was in a bit of an existential funk the day after Game 6. I felt so disappointed and hopeless.

I realize this is really intense and kinda a little crazy. I get that it’s just a game and there’s always next year and wasn’t it fun to just watch them play so well and it’s just a game

A beautiful pair.

But, you know, I just really wanted them to win. They so deserve it. And also can we talk about Smuggy McSmuggerson Albert Pujols? That guy gets to hoist the trophy and Josh Hamilton doesn’t? Where is the justice here? Also how many more rings does Tony LaRussa need? Answer is definitely not the one Ron Washington so desperately deserves.

Sorry, really needed to vent. The point is (there is a point I promise), I was in a serious funk and feeling like there was nothing left to live for.

Having this in your face will change your perspective.

And then I made this mac and cheese. And things started to look up.

Yep, this mac and cheese will bring you back from the brink.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Makes one 9×9 or 9×13 casserole dish (depending on whether you want deep dish mac and cheese or not)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups milk

10 oz grated cheddar cheese (I used mild, but sharp might be awesome too)

12 oz canned pumpkin

10 oz elbow macaroni

salt and pepper to taste

Directions 

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Cook your elbow macaroni until it is al dente. You still want to have a bit of a crunch to the pasta since you’ll be baking it in a sauce for a little while. If mushy noodles are your thing, though, cook the pasta the way you want.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  3.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about two minutes. You want to stir the mixture constantly and keep it from browning. It will bubble a bit.
  4. Add the milk and continue to stir occasionally. The sauce will thicken as you bring it to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, lower the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional two or three minutes. Then remove from heat.
  6. Add in about 8 oz of your grated cheese and all of your canned pumpkin. Stir until the ingredients are well combined and the cheese is melted.
  7. Stir in the cooked elbow mac. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle remaining grated cheese over the top.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbly and beginning to brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before digging in.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious and inspired by Bon Appetit.
This mac and cheese was pretty surprising. The first time I saw the suggestion on my twitter feed I was weirded out. Pumpkin and cheddar cheese was never something I would have put together myself. But they actually complement each other well. Well enough to make me see the light at the end of the very bleak epic-Game-6-loss tunnel. Plus, it’s fall. Pumpkin should be in absolutely everything.
Happy almost-Halloween, and bake with love!!
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6 comments

  1. I’m totally obsessed with pumpkin, but I’m wondering if I can handle this recipe? It’s so unique, though, that I feel like I need to try it!

    1. I felt the same way about it. Sounded too intriguing not to try it! Making a bechamel can seem intimidating, but I bet you can handle it (unless that’s not what you’re referring to…but even then, I still bet you’ll make awesome mac and cheese!). Let me know if you have any questions I can answer or need any clarifications etc. You should definitely give it a shot!

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