What's better than a one-pan dish recipe on Thanksgiving? How about a gooey, crispy pumpkin mac and cheese with sage and Grana Padano breadcrumbs?
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Grana Padano
Food blogger, recipe developer and influencer Dan Pelosi -- of GrossyPelosi fame -- tapped into his family's Italian roots to highlight a beloved ingredient that elevates the flavors of this all-in-one dish.
"It's really kind of a pantry staple," he said of the main ingredient for the dish produced in Northern Italy. "It's like the go-to cheese in a ton of Italian homes."
Serves: 2 to 4 (Pelosi noted this depends on who you're cooking for and how much you're serving to each guest).
1 lb. zucchette or other pasta
1 medium butternut squash or kabocha squash (OPTIONAL)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups of whole milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/4 cup Grana Padano, grated
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
1 cup plain panko or breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Skin and dice your squash into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. Toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until they are gorgeous and glowing and browned. Set aside. This can be done a few days in advance and stored in the fridge.
Meanwhile, let's make those breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of butter into a medium frying pan over medium heat and melt until it browns. Then add in 1 cup panko and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage along with a pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper. Stir consistently until everything is brown and toasty. Transfer into a bowl and add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Set aside.
Cook your pasta until very al dente (it's gonna cook more when we bake the mac and cheese) -- about 6 minutes. Strain and set aside.
While your pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in another pot over medium heat. Whisk in two tablespoons of flour until combined. Slowly add in 2 cups of milk, whisking the entire time. Add in 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese and one 15 oz can pumpkin puree, and whisk until everything is combined and the cheese is melted and creamy. Remove from heat and add in 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage and black pepper and kosher salt, to taste.
Add your al dente pasta and roasted butternut squash to the pot and fold into cheese sauce until combined. Pour the combined cheese sauce/pasta/butternut squash into a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle half of the breadcrumb mixture on the top of the pasta cheese mixture and place in the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 mins or until as browned and crispy as you like. Serve warm from the oven with extra breadcrumbs on the side.
"It's such an easy recipe and you could add whatever you want to it," Pelosi said. He suggested kale, spinach or another vegetable to add instead of chunks of roasted butternut squash.