Recipe:Pumpkin mac and cheese

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2D

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes (including time to cook pasta)

Makes eight 3/4-cup servings

Here's a vegetarian casserole that includes pumpkin for festive flavor as well as extra nutrition. It can be baked at home and reheated at your host's house after the turkey comes out of the oven.

Using a mix of heavy whipping cream and skim milk saves a few calories and fat grams. You also can use fat-free half-and- half in place of the cream. Using Gouda cheese gives this mac and cheese a mild nutty flavor.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens by the Detroit Free Press.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dried elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup skim milk

4 ounces Gouda or fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée

1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crushed

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh sage leaves, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta, and then return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cheese, pumpkin and sage until cheese melts. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage leaves.

Per serving: 339 calories (51 percent from fat), 19 grams fat (9 grams sat. fat), 29 grams carb., 12 grams protein, 424 mg sodium, 48 mg chol., 1 gram fiber.

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