If you know me, you know I love mac and cheese. Like, reeeeeeally love it. It's been my favorite since childhood, and the boxed Velveeta is probably my favorite. Healthy, I know. ;)
In my search for savory pumpkin recipes I came across a Pasta al Forno recipe on Food52 and adapted it with a couple of other pumpkin pasta recipes I found. Al pasta al forne is just pasta that has been baked and is more al dente like Italians like. This recipe is basically just a fancy baked mac and cheese, and pretty easy to pull together.
Kendall liked this recipe a lot better than the pumpkin lasagna I shared. The texture of that just wasn't up his alley. I haven't told him there's pumpkin in this yet, and just in case you think I'm deceiving my husband, I am. Nah, not really! I just wanted to make sure he liked it the second day around before I let him know. He's always a good sport when I want to try new things. :)
This pasta turned out really delish, especially with the pancetta, and was a really fun version of mac and cheese for me to try!
- 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- ¼ pound pancetta, diced
- 1 pound conchiglie rigate (shells)
- ¼ pound shredded fresh mozzarella
- ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano
- ½ cup fontina, coarsely grated
- ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 2 tablespoons ricotta
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for exactly 5 minutes, drain and run coolwater over it for about 10 seconds. Set aside in the colander.
In a blender, blend together the pumpkin, half and half, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic.
Pour the olive oil into a skillet and sauté the onion and the rest of the garlic (2 teaspoons) until the onions are translucent.
Add the pancetta to the onion and garlic and cook until the pancetta is crisp.
Combine the pumpkin and cream puree with the cheeses, and pancetta in a large bowl and stir gently to combine.
Add the pasta and fold together just until combined.
Spread the pasta evenly in a casserole or baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the top is browned and the bottom layer of pasta is just tender.