This pumpkin sage mac and cheese is our seasonal twist on classic stovetop mac and is the comforting pasta we need on cold winter nights! This recipe was retested and republished in 2022.
Secret vegetables (pumpkin!) hidden in a creamy, cheesy, cozy sauce over elbow noodles is exactly what we need on these cold winter days. If you enjoy a creamy, cheesy sauce and are okay with a little divergence from classic mac and cheese (we're adding some pumpkin purée to the sauce), then this pumpkin sage mac and cheese has potentially to be the new cheesy pasta recipe in your dinner rotation.
The ingredients you'll need for this pumpkin sage mac and cheese are below. A fair warning... the sauce is one you'll want to eat by the spoonful!
- Elbow noodles - Whole wheat or legume are what I use to get the most nutrition in each bite, but use whatever you have on hand.
- Butter - To help us make our pumpkin sage cheese sauce base.
- Flour - This is our other key sauce ingredients (flour and butter form a roux, which is the start to a really delicious creamy sauce). For sauces, I like to use unbleached, unenriched or white whole wheat flour.
- Garlic - For the best flavor.
- Sage - Sage & pumpkin get along so well, so sage is our herb of choice in our cheese sauce today.
- Salt - Our flavor enhancer, always.
- Pepper - For flavor.
- Pumpkin - Canned pumpkin will be one of the primary components of our pumpkin sage cheese sauce.
- Whole milk - To make our mac and cheese nice and creamy.
- Sharp cheddar cheese - Of course, cheese! The most important part. I love using a sharp cheddar cheese for this particular mac.
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Combine all spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly into lean ground beef
Form into ball shape with your hands
Place into oven at 350 fahrenheit
- Noodles: Get your noodles started first! We like to use whole wheat elbows (especially the kind from Delallo... obsessed).
- Roux: The best simple start to the creamiest of sauces! Make a roux by melting butter over low-medium heat in a skillet or medium saucepan. Once melted, add garlic, sage, and a pinch of salt. Sauté that for about one minute, then add flour while stirring constantly (I like to use a wooden spoon for this). Once the roux starts to puff up slightly (about 1-3 minutes of sautéing), add in ½ cup of reserved starchy pasta water while constantly stirring or whisking. This will form a creamy base.
- Sauce: Add milk, pumpkin, salt, and pepper while constantly stirring to keep the mixture smooth and uniform. Increase heat to bring sauce mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add cheese and stir until melted.
- Combine: Add the drained pasta into the pumpkin sage cheese sauce and stir.
Optional but delicious... top with parmesan, breadcrumbs, and or crushed toasted walnuts for crunch.
I hope you find a chance to cozy up to this healthy and easy pumpkin sage mac and cheese!Print
Pumpkin Sage Mac and Cheese
This pumpkin sage mac and cheese is a seasonal twist on classic stovetop mac! A healthy and comforting weeknight dinner done in less than 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 3-4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop, blender
- Cuisine: American
- 8 oz. cooked whole wheat elbow noodles (or your favorite pasta!)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- Cook pasta. Cook the elbow noodles according to package instructions. Drain, reserving ¾ cup of the pasta water.
- Make the sauce. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sage and sauté for briefly just to soften (about 30 seconds). Add the flour to the butter and mix together constantly with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Once it starts to puff slightly, add salt, pepper, milk, and pumpkin purée, stirring constantly for a smooth texture. Turn the heat up to bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer gently for a minute, then turn heat off and add cheese. Stir until it melts, and you have pumpkin sage cheese sauce!
- Combine pasta & sauce. Add your elbow noodles to the pumpkin sage cheese sauce and stir to fully coat. Serve in bowls with optional breadcrumbs on top for crunch!
1. Cheese. For mac and cheese, I highly recommend using block cheese and shredding at home, rather than using pre-shredded cheese. The reason for this is that pre-shredded cheese doesn't melt as smoothly due to added anti-caking agents. And we're going for a smooth and creamy cheese sauce!
Keywords: pumpkin pasta, healthy mac and cheese