Pumpkin Cheddar Mac 'n' Cheese

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 3:00 AM, September 13, 2011

Aired September 13, 2011

Serves 4-6

1 pound whole wheat or whole grain short-cut pasta, such as rigatoni or penne
4 tablespoons butter
3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour
1 cup amber beer
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 cups whole milk
A couple of pinches ground cloves or 1/2 teaspoon allspice
About 1 teaspoon ground mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin pure or 2 cups pured fresh roasted pumpkin or butternut squash
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese, divided
Sweet paprika, for sprinkling
Chopped parsley or chives to garnish




Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and reserve. Preheat broiler.



Melt butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook for 1 minute, then raise heat a bit and add beer. Reduce until almost evaporated then whisk in honey or syrup and milk. Season with cloves or allspice, mustard, cayenne, a little freshly grated nutmeg, some salt and pepper. Thicken to coat spoon, a couple of minutes, then taste to adjust seasonings.



Whisk in pumpkin pure then stir in about 2 cups grated cheese with a wooden spoon until melted. Combine pasta with sauce and arrange in a casserole or individual ramekins. Sprinkle remaining cheese and a light dusting of paprika. Broil to brown and bubble. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.