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Pumpkin Mac and cheese with fried sage

 Is it fall without pumpkin, pasta and sage? Why not add to the creamy cozy delight and make a pumpkin Mac and cheese with buttery bread crumbs and fried sage? Pair it with a fir and hard cider, and you have my birthday dinner.


6 ounces gemelli

1 bunch fresh sage

1 ounce piece Parmesan 

1/4 cup panko

15 ounce can pumpkin purée

4 ounces shredded fontina 7

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup milk

flour, sugar, salt, pepper


Preheat broiler.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook,  until almost al dente. Reserve 1⁄2 cup cooking water and drain; set aside until step 3.

Pick sage leaves from stems. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter . Add sage; cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, until edges curl and butter is a dark amber color, 5–6 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve skillet.

Pour browned butter into a medium bowl.

Finely grate Parmesan.

To bowl with browned butter, stir in panko, Parmesan, and half of the garlic until combined; set aside.

In a second medium bowl, whisk to combine reserved cooking water, remaining garlic, 1⁄2 cup pumpkin purée, 3⁄4 cup milk, and 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar until smooth.

Wipe out reserved skillet and return to stovetop; melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in pumpkin-milk mixture until combined. Remove from heat; stir in all of the fontina until melted and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in pasta until evenly coated in cheese sauce.

Transfer pumpkin mac to a medium baking dish; sprinkle with Parmesan breadcrumbs. Broil on upper oven rack until breadcrumbs are toasted and Parmesan is melted.

Serve creamy pumpkin mac and cheese with fried sage leaves and a few grinds of pepper sprinkled over top. Enjoy!


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