Pumpkin, Kale & Bacon Mac

6-8 servings
Active Time
Cook Time
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Pumpkin adds unexpected flavor and nutrients to your favorite comfort food.


  • 1 pound medium shells pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 6 ounces Roth Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 6 ounces Roth Grand Cru or Grand Cru Reserve cheese, shredded
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 3 cups chopped, packed kale
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions.
  3. In a separate Dutch oven or large pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add onion. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes until onion is translucent and begins to lightly brown. Add garlic. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and melt. Stir in flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk in milk until fully incorporated. Cook 3 to 4 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. Whisk in Dijon mustard, garlic powder, nutmeg and pumpkin puree until fully incorporated. Add cheese, one handful at a time, whisking in-between each addition to ensure cheese melts into sauce. Adjust stovetop heat to low.
  4. When pasta reaches al dente, strain and add to pumpkin cheese sauce. Mix until pasta is coated.
  5. While pasta warms, cook bacon in a sauté pan until crispy. Remove bacon strips from heat. Add chopped kale to leftover bacon fat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until kale begins to wilt and soften. Dice bacon, and add to pasta mixture. Once kale has wilted, fold into pasta mixture. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  6. Transfer pasta mixture to a 13×9-inch baking pan. Top with an even layer of panko breadcrumbs, and drizzle olive oil over breadcrumbs to help them brown.
  7. Cook macaroni and cheese for 10 minutes or until pasta is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden brown.