Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 4 ounces bacon, cooked (4–5 pieces)
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 large)
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 and 1/2 cups nonfat milk
- 1 cup low-sodium canned chicken stock (if homemade, skim off fat)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 13 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other short pasta such as penne or rigatoni)
- 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/4 cup), divided
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- If necessary, cook the bacon. Once cool enough to handle, chop into rough pieces and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium high. Add onions and sauté just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook onions until caramelized and tender, stirring occasionally. Let the onions cook for at least 10 additional minutes, or up to 30 minutes as you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- In a deep, wide saucepan, combine pumpkin, stock, and milk, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in mustard, salt, pepper nutmeg, and cayenne.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon kosher salt, then cook just until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, then transfer noodles to a large bowl. Pour pumpkin sauce over the top, then stir in the cheddar, Greek yogurt, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Fold in all of the caramelized onions and reserved bacon.
- Lightly coat a 9-inch square, deep baking dish or a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer the pumpkin noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the noodles. Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 35 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Lobster & Shrimp Mac n Cheese
- 3/4 pound of any spiral pasta, such as rotini or fusilli
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 4 ounces Killaree cheddar, grated, or any white cheddar
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat, chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, chopped in half
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add pasta, cooking according to the directions on the box. Drain well.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the meantime, heat milk in a small saucepan (do NOT boil). In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp. of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While you’re still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and add the Gruyere, cheddar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked pasta, lobster meat, and shrimp. Stir well to coat everything with the cheese mixture.
- Place the entire mixture into a large pie dish or casserole dish. I used a 9″ ruffled pie dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter with 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on the top of the mac n cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until mixture is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are brown on top.
- Serve warm and store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Gouda Mac and Cheese with Peaches and Prosciutto
4 oz prosciutto, chopped
2 tb unsalted butter
1 white onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 yellow peaches, chopped
1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
6 oz Gouda, shredded, plus extra for topping
1 c plain Greek yogurt
1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the prosciutto until crispy, 3-5 minutes. The prosciutto should be fatty enough that you don’t have to grease the skillet, but if the skillet gets to be too dry, you can add a bit of oil or butter. Remove the prosciutto and set it aside. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and melt the butter. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and a few turns of pepper and let it cook until very soft, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peaches and half of the prosciutto and cook for about 5 more minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions. Strain it.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cheese, yogurt, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Fold in the hot pasta and the onion/peach/prosciutto mixture. Top with additional cheese and remaining prosciutto. The sauce will thicken once the pasta cools slightly.