creamy baked pumpkin mac and cheese
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Creamy Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Cheesy and creamy baked pumpkin mac and cheese with a brown butter cracker topping is the best comfort food casserole recipe for a cold fall (or winter) day. This easy, homemade & gourmet macaroni and cheese is great for a thanksgiving side dish or a cozy dinner recipe.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword bakedmacandcheese, cheesy, comfortfood, easydinner, fallcasseroles, fallrecipes, gourmetmac&cheese, pumpkinrecipes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs about 1 sleeve of crackers
  • 2 tsp Fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 stick + 3 TBS Butter divided
  • 2 TBS Bourbon Whiskey optional
  • 1 medium Yellow onion diced
  • 1 Garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp Salt divided
  • 1 Tsp Granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese shredded or freshly grated
  • 1 cup American cheese cut into 1” pieces
  • 1/3 cup Asiago cheese shredded or freshly grated
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese cut into 1” pieces
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 TSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TSP Ground sage
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Allspice
  • 1 lb Medium shell pasta

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Place cracker crumbs and rosemary in small bowl. Set aside.
  • Melt 1 stick of butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue melting until the butter starts to get foamy. Continue cooking, keeping close watch, until brown specks start to form and you smell a nutty aroma. Remove from heat. *See Recipe Notes
  • Pour half of the brown butter (1/4 cup) into the bowl with the crushed crackers. Mix until well combined, set aside.
  • To the remaining 1/4 cup of brown butter, add 2 TBS Bourbon Whiskey. Set aside.
  • In large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 3 TBS of butter. Add diced onions, 1/2 tsp salt and sugar. Stir to combine.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add in garlic, cook 1 minute.
  • Add in flour, whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes until slightly browned.
  • Add in brown butter/bourbon mixture. Whisk for 1 minute longer.
  • Add in Milk and Half & Half, stirring often until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes (mixture will be bubbling).
  • Stir in pumpkin, cheeses (cheddar, American, Asiago, & cream cheese), black pepper, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, mustard, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • Bring large pan of water to boil, add pasta and cook according to pasta instructions. Drain.
  • Add cooked pasta to cheese mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Pour into large 13"x9" baking dish, spreading out evenly.
  • Sprinkle cracker crumb mixture on top, spreading evenly.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until top is golden and cheeses are bubbly.
  • Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

*Click here for How to Brown Butter
*You can omit the bourbon altogether by just leaving it out of the recipe.
*To make this dish ahead: prepare as instructed, refrigerate and bake when ready to eat.