Pumpkin mac and cheese adds autumnal flavor to your favorite comfort food. Made with creamy Gouda and nutty Grand Cru® cheeses.
- 1 pound medium shells pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups whole or 2% milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large pot, cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
- In a separate Dutch oven or large pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add onion. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and begins to brown around the edges. Add garlic, and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
- 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 until sauce has thickened. Whisk in Dijon mustard, garlic powder, nutmeg, and pumpkin until fully incorporated. Add cheese, one handful at a time, whisking between each addition to ensure cheese melts into the sauce. Reduce stovetop heat to low.
- When pasta reaches al dente, strain and add to the pumpkin cheese sauce. Mix until pasta is coated.
- While pasta warms, cook bacon in a sauté pan until crispy. Remove bacon from heat, and dice. Add chopped kale to leftover bacon fat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until kale begins to wilt and soften. Once kale has wilted, fold into pasta mixture along with bacon. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Transfer pasta mixture to a 9- x 13-inch baking pan. Top with an even layer of panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle olive oil over breadcrumbs to help them brown.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until pasta is bubbling, and breadcrumbs are golden brown.