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baked white cheddar mac and cheese

Baked White Cheddar Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Baked white cheddar pumpkin mac and cheese made with white cheddar cheese, spinach and a walnut breadcrumb topping. A cozy and healthy spin on typical mac and cheese!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4 -5 servings

Ingredients
  

  • For the pasta:
  • 10 ounces rigatoni cavatappi or pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • For the pumpkin cheese sauce:
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk or milk of your choice
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese grated
  • ½ cup gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. salt plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • For the topping:
  • 2 tbsp. cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Heat a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter minced garlic, stir and heat until fragrant. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and stir every so often, until the sauce thickens up.
  • Once the sauce has thickened up turn off the heat and stir in cheddar cheese and gruyere cheese,  salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  • Stir in the noodles and spinach until noodles are well covered and spinach has slightly wilted. 
  • Add mixture to a 9X9 baking dish. 
  • In a small bowl, mix chopped walnuts and breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle mixture on top of of the pasta and bake for about 25 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown. 
Keyword mac and cheese; baked mac and cheese