Macaroni, Cheese and Pumpkin Bake

April 18, 2011

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Citrus and Candy’s Weekend Medical Report:


Symptoms:
Gloomy, grey autumn weather. Cold chills and rain. Frazzled hair. Cranky pants.

Diagnosis: Early onset of Winter Blues.

Treatment: Warming, hearty food of the naughtiest kind. Make sure that it is lovingly prepared and greedily scoffed while donning your most glamorous trackie dacks*.

*Glamorous = the ones with a trademark hole in the crotch/bum area or the saggy ones in the sexy shade of grey melange.

Prescription: A creamy, dreamy Macaroni, Cheese and Pumpkin Bake. Its voluptuous looks are soothing to the eye while an injection of that mornay sauce is comfort at its best. Even the squelchy sounds that the macaroni makes against your cutlery is aurally therapeutic. It’s pretty much a humble Mac ‘n’ Cheese but with a glorious orangey Valentino-esque fake tan and it’s so so good.

Dosage: Take often as needed with a glass of wine (optional) and trashy TV viewing (essential).

Not recommended for: people on diets or with cholesterol-related health issues (warning – I make no apologies for the trashiness of this dish). People who are afraid of cream, cheese, butter and carbs.

If symptoms still persist: Please come back to see me for a more intensive treatment of the sugary kind.

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Macaroni, Cheese and Pumpkin Bake

Serves 4

Mornay sauce adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

Quarter of Kent pumpkin (approx. 600g in weight)
1 Tbl of thyme leaves
1L milk
2 bay leaves
70g butter
70g plain flour
2 egg yolks
200g Gruyère, roughly grated **
50g fresh Parmesan, roughly grated **
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
250g macaroni
Breadcrumbs to coat the surface* or extra grated cheese (your choice)

* For garlic and parsley crumbs, whizz some dried breadcrumbs, panko or slices of stale bread with a clove of garlic and a handful of parsley until finely ground and combined.

** Feel free to substitute with whatever cheese you like stinky or non-stinky. Think gorgonzola, sharp cheddar, fontina etc. To substitute for Gruyère, try Emmentaler, Jarlsberg or any other melty semi-firm Swiss cheese (all quite safe for a stinky-cheese-phobe like me).

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Peel the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and chop into 3cm chunks. Lay out the chopped pumpkin on a baking paper lined roasting tin, scatter thyme leaves over, lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with a little sea salt and black pepper.

Roast pumpkin for approximately 30 minutes or until tender and cooked. Set aside and increase the oven temperature to 220°C.

In the meantime, warm up the milk in a pot with the bay leaves until simmering. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves and set aside.

Combine butter and flour in a separate saucepan, stir continuously over medium heat until it comes together as a smooth dough and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Gradually add the milk, stirring or whisking continuously until smooth and incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Remove from heat, stir through the egg yolks, the grated cheeses and nutmeg until completely combined. Season to taste with salt and ground white pepper (but make sure to do it after you add the cheeses). If not using straight away, cover the surface with clingwrap or baking paper to stop a skin from forming.

Cook the macaroni according to your packet’s instructions until it’s just al dente (do not overcook as it’ll cook further in the oven and nobody likes a soggy pasta right?). Drain well and keep warm until ready to use.

Mix the macaroni with the cheesy sauce and fold through the cooked pumpkin. If you’ve cooked it soft enough, the pumpkin will start to break down into a pulp and mix through to make a beautifully orangey cheese sauce. If not, then chunks of pumpkin throughout the macaroni are also equally tasty :)

Top with breadcrumbs or extra grated Gruyère/Parmesan and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and burnished.

Serve with salad greens if you wish.


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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Darla Wilder December 14, 2011 at 09:12

Definitely learnt my lesson there! Love it, Ms Candy!
Darla Wilder recently posted..Acne Tips

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Sarah @ For the love of food April 30, 2011 at 12:05

Ooooh I love the sound of this – have not tried it with pumpkin before but now it seems so obvious. Photos are gorgeous.

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Gareth April 26, 2011 at 19:10

I love macaroni and this sounds perfect for a drizzle bound day. It’s pretty good with bacon, lardons or chunks of ham mixed in and slices of tomatoe on the top to cut the richness of the sauce.

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Citrus and Candy April 29, 2011 at 02:51

Hi Gareth, ooh I love the sound of your version. Especially the bacon addition! Yummmmm

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mademoiselle délicieuse April 23, 2011 at 11:36

Love it, Ms Candy! Or should that be, Dr Candy =D

You’ve also reminded me of playing with squeaky macaroni as a kid!
mademoiselle délicieuse recently posted..Food memories- the first time

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Citrus and Candy April 29, 2011 at 02:50

Hehehe I prefer Nurse Candy ;)

No wait that sounds wrong…

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Christine April 19, 2011 at 21:05

Looks scrumptious!! There is something amazing about the combination of pumpkin and cheese..
Christine recently posted..Stylish Blogger Award

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 23:20

I agree! Pumpkin is magical no matter how you prepare it :D

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angie April 19, 2011 at 10:31

Oh… my… arteries! This is definately comfort food! For the days where you just don’t give a sh*t and all you want is a bowl of something that’ll make your world a better place =)
angie recently posted..Warm Gnocchi Salad- Pulled Pork Tacos &amp Brazo De Mercedes – A wonderfully long lunch &amp a catch up with family

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 23:20

LOL I like the way you put it hehe. But how true, so many things can be solved with a healthy dose of cream and carbs hmmmm

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Martyna (Wholesome Cook) April 19, 2011 at 09:35

Yum yum yum! I love an all natural mac and cheese and the addition of pumpkin makes it so much more sweeter, I’d think. And I loves your plate – it’s gorgeous!
Martyna (Wholesome Cook) recently posted..Fudge and egg liqueur kugelhopf for Easter

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 23:21

Thank you so much! I’ve always been a firm believer in that everything can be improved with pumpkin LOL!

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Sara @ Belly Rumbles April 18, 2011 at 21:19

Perfect winter comfort food, bring on the butter, cheese and carbs!

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:51

Heck yes! I love winter cooking in a big way :D

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bake in paris April 18, 2011 at 18:41

Very outstanding shots! I don’t mind to be medicated with this food :-)
bake in paris recently posted..Wet

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:52

Thanks so much Kris! I definitely can’t wait to get into the comfort food this winter :)

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Jackie B April 18, 2011 at 17:51

Looks awesome and funny post, LOL a lot. I have tracky daks like that aka The Holey One ;)

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:52

Lols thank Jackie. Gotta love a good pair of daggy trackies. You should see my collection :P

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Mei Sze April 18, 2011 at 13:48

I need some of that too right now! (Sigh…) Love the orange tan twist! hehehe

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:54

Thanks Mei! Wish you were here so I could offload the leftovers. I ended up making enough for 10 :S

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Jacq April 18, 2011 at 13:48

I could do with some of this right now, straight out of the pan! Looks like the perfect dish for the chilly nights we’ve been having :)
Jacq recently posted..All you can eat @ Sushi Choo- Sydney

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:54

Especially with the weekend rain! I wanted to eat nothing else :)

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OohLookBel April 18, 2011 at 13:42

I want my mac and cheese served on a pretty plate, too!
OohLookBel recently posted..Black-and-white-and-red-all-over cheesecake

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:55

Hi Belle! Hehe pretty plates always makes food more tastier! ;)

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chocolatesuze April 18, 2011 at 10:45

ooh more cheese! more! MORE!

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:55

LOL! For you, anything :)

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Reemski April 18, 2011 at 10:06

Wow, that’s exactly what I’d like to stuff my face with right about now
Reemski recently posted..Quay Restaurant

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:55

I like your style Reem ;)

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Steph April 18, 2011 at 06:37

Oooooooh you read my mind, recently all I’ve been wanting to eat is rice or mac and cheese. Yay for a new post! It looks so good, and I love that plate!!

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:56

Thanks love! You should definitely make some, embrace the carbs!

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Lora April 18, 2011 at 04:23

Inspired and fabulous and i love your dress code.
Lora recently posted..Happy Birthday Medical Cookies for My Hubby

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Citrus and Candy April 19, 2011 at 02:57

Thanks Lora! I think more people should embrace the trackies and cooking seems less than a chore when you’re so comfortable in a pair lol!

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Helen (grabyourfork) April 18, 2011 at 03:20

Looks awesome. I would have eaten it straight out of the pan!

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Citrus and Candy April 18, 2011 at 03:45

Hi Helen,

Lol I did that once impatiently and it wasn’t pretty. Definitely learnt my lesson there!

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