Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

5 from 3 votes

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Pretty, satisfying, cold weather comfort food

Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce
Spoon in a bowl of Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce.

While I cook with butternut squash all the time, when I think about cooking with pumpkin I picture a can of puree. But not this year, this year I am grabbing the pumpkin by the stem and here’s the first pumpkin moment of, I hope, many.

This is a decadent cold weather (vegetarian) dish, filled with comfort and decadence. My kids did not think they were going to like it, and did not hesitate to share their reservations with me. I assured them they would.

Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce on a plate with greens.

Full disclosure, they liked the pasta with its lovely sauce, but left almost all of the little nuggets of beautiful pumpkin on the side of their plates, which I promptly ate. My mother however, ate her whole plate.

Use small or medium pasta shells for this recipe, not the jumbo ones that are mostly meant for stuffing. Or use any chunky pasta shape you like.

The Creamiest Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Ever: Nuggets of fresh pumpkin are nestled in a super creamy, super cheesy sauce for the ultimate fall comfort food.

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Plate of Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce and greens.

How Do You Peel a Pumpkin?

To peel them, cut off the top and bottom ends of the pumpkin, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin – it will probably take a couple of times around the pumpkin to get to the bright orange flesh beneath the thick skin. For tougher skin, make a few more passes with the peeler. Cut in half and remove the seeds.

You can make roasted pumpkin seeds for snacking or for use in other recipes, and the the pumpkin itself can be cut and cooked in many ways.

Fork on a plate with greens and Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce.

Other Cheesy Pasta Dishes My Kids Love:

Orange bowl of Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce.

Beyond Pumpkin: Butternut Squash Recipes:

(Some of which my kids like, some of which they don’t, all of which I love and so do my friends.)

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5 from 3 votes

Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pretty, satisfying, cold weather comfort food
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 People
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Ingredients 

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin about 4 pounds, peeled (see recipe intro), seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 onions cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons torn fresh sage leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound dried pasta shells small or medium
  • cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cups crumbled goat cheese (or try 1 1/2 cups cubed brie or camembert with the rind cut off!)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet with sides, place the pumpkin, onion, and sage, then drizzle over the olive oil and toss everything on the baking sheet, then spread everything out into a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and everything is lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve a cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta.
  • Place the cooking water and the cream back in the pasta cooking pot and heat over medium high heat just until little bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Whisk in the Parmesan and the goat cheese until the cheeses are melted. Season with salt and pepper. Return the pasta to the pan and stir until coated with the sauce. Add the cooked pumpkin and onions to the pan and toss to combine. Serve hot.

Notes

How Do I Peel a Pumpkin?

To peel them, cut off the top and bottom ends of the pumpkin, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin – it will probably take a couple of times around the pumpkin to get to the bright orange flesh beneath the thick skin. For tougher skin, make a few more passes with the peeler. Cut in half and remove the seeds. You can make roasted pumpkin seeds for snacking or for use in other recipes, and the the pumpkin itself can be cut and cooked in many ways.

Nutrition

Calories: 524.26kcal, Carbohydrates: 60.71g, Protein: 19.55g, Fat: 23.68g, Saturated Fat: 12.39g, Cholesterol: 49.5mg, Sodium: 218.93mg, Potassium: 973.23mg, Fiber: 3.58g, Sugar: 9.37g, Vitamin A: 20065.41IU, Vitamin C: 22.56mg, Calcium: 187.74mg, Iron: 3.73mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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6 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    This sounds so delicious! Lucky you getting to eat the extra pumpkin left by the kids! :-D

    1. Katie Workman says:

      agreed!

  2. sylvie amésée says:

    Makes me dreaming it’s time for diner!

  3. Emily says:

    Thanks for clarifying!

  4. Emily says:

    I’m confused. You refer to butternut squash, yet go the pumpkin route. The ingredient list calls for pumpkin, yet No. 3 in the directions says, “Add the cooked squash…” Is the recipe for pumpkin or butternut squash? I’m not trying to quibble, but it’s a big deal for me as I love butternut squash, but detest pumpkin. Thanks! LOVE the book, by the way.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Sorry it is pumpkin! Squash was sort of a reference to refer to pumpkin, which is a member of the squash/gourd family. But you totally can substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin, and you should! Thanks for writing, and I made the correction.