Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkin Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese


I don't think the word lazy has ever been used to describe me.  Sometimes I take shortcuts like buying canned pumpkin.  Although I prefer the old fashioned route (which also happens to be healthier).   I was actually pleased when Whole Foods ran out of solid pack pumpkin last weekend.  It gave me the impetus I needed to make my own.  

So Monday morning before 8 am, I had peeled, seeded, cut into chunks, steamed and pureed in the food processor a whole sugar pumpkin.  Because another thing about me: I am always up early, as in hours before the sun- early (thank you, children).  It was nice to make good use of the time.

The resulting pumpkin has gone into fluffy pumpkin waffles and hearty muffins this week.  It also made a tasty appearance in this mac and cheese, which Roman, Ethan and I gobbled up at 9:30 am, because when you've been up since 5, lunchtime can come very early.  For our hungry tummies, it was a welcome treat to refuel until second lunch.


Creamy Pumpkin Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

I used the absorption method for the pasta (it's like making risotto)-- adding water and stirring until the macaroni is cooked.  The pasta releases its starch and makes for a creamier dish.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots or 1/2 an onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 head of cauliflower, remove stalk and finely chop
1/2 bag of elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
2 cups of water (estimated)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (you could also use butternut or acorn squash, steamed and pureed)
1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp salt

Sauté the shallots and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the cauliflower and cook for several minutes over medium heat.  
Add the raw macaroni.  Add 1 cup of water and stir, bringing to a boil and adding more water little by little, as needed until the pasta is tender. When the pasta is done (cauliflower should be tender by this time), stir in the pumpkin puree and remove from heat.  Pour this into a baking dish and stir in the mozzarella cheese and salt.  You can make the dish ahead to this point and keep it refrigerated until before dinner.  When ready to bake, top with parmesan and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until it begins to brown slightly. 


  1. Well, as you know, canned pumpkin doesn't exist here so a few times a year I go through the whole process to make my favorite pumpkin dishes... but it doesn't happen quite as much as it should, because I am a little lazy at times. Macaroni and cheese with pumpkin is a recipe I have never tried, thanks for the inspiration.

  2. I'm intrigued by this absorption method to create a creamier pasta dish. Thanks, Nicole.

  3. Followed you over from Honest Cooking. This recipe sounds creamy and comforting - though I will be using canned pumpkin!

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