pumpkin maple macaroni and cheese

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  15 minutes
servings:  tbd

1 pound of short-cut whole wheat pasta; such as macaroni or penne
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of amber beer
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 cups of milk
2 pinches of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of ground mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 14-ounce can of pure pumpkin purée
2 and 1/2 cups of shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese - divided
sweet paprika for sprinkling
chopped parsley, chives or a sprig of thyme for garnish

1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. bring a large pot of water to a boil. salt the water and then cook the pasta until al dente. drain and set aside.

2. melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. whisk in the flour ensuring no lumps develop; cook for 1 minute. raise heat a small bit and add beer. whisk well to ensure no lumps form. once the beer has evaporated a bit (about 5 minutes), whisk in the maple syrup and milk. season with cloves or allspice, mustard, cayenne and the nutmeg. add salt and pepper to taste. allow the mixture to cook on medium heat until the sauce leaves a thick coat on the back of a spoon (about 3 minutes).

3. whisk in the pumpkin purée then stir in 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese. mix until the cheese is melted. combine the pasta and the sauce and arrange in a casserole dish or individual ramekins. sprinkle remaining cheese on top. dust tops lightly with paprika. bake for 15 minutes and/or broil to allow the top to get brown and bubbly.

4. garnish with fresh chopped parsley, chives or sprigs of thyme.

- the fig tree blog

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