Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon is a the same delicious comfort food we all know, made healthier baked inside a pumpkin. Now the pumpkin doesn’t reduce the fat content or regular mac and cheese, but adds lots vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, and is low in calories. I think that’s a welcome addition or Macaroni and Cheese.
In North American, pumpkin seem to be most popular at Halloween, and are usually eaten sweet. Here in Australia, we don’t really celebrate Halloween, and most pumpkin recipes aren’t sweet, but savory. There isn’t a pumpkin pie in sight! I love pumpkin recipes. One of my favorites is my wife’s Leek and Pumpkin Soup, and for dessert a Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese.
There are different variations of this recipe, many of them prepare the pumpkin in a baking dish together with the macaroni and cheese. I love making and serving Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon baked inside the pumpkin. It gives a wow to your dinner meal when serving. You could use several smaller pumpkins, or even individual serve pumpkins, but you’d need to shorten the baking time. Just poke with a fork to check if the pumpkin is done.
American Cheddar (the orange kind) is hard to find outside of North America. Believe it or not, its just orange color from the Annatto seed that’s added to white cheddar cheese that gives it’s familiar hue. Cows don’t give orange milk to give us orange cheese! Red Leicester Cheese from the UK is available here, and will work well for the cheese sauce. Original Macaroni and Cheese must be orange in color!
Butternut Squash is popular when making Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, however wouldn’t work well for this recipe, as you couldn’t stuff the macaroni inside to be baked! I used a local Australian pumpkin that someone brought to church from their farm, so any pumpkin with a large enough cavity to hold 4 cups of cooked macaroni is the right pumpkin to use!
Baked Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon is easy to make, super cheesy and a healthier way to enjoy this American Dinner favorite. A perfect fall comfort food, especially around Halloween. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon
- 1 pumpkin
- 2 cups macaroni
- 2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ¼ cup butter
- 3 cups cheese*
- ½ small white onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 bacon rashers thinly sliced
- pinch of nutmeg optional and up to ¼ teaspoon
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Cut a circle in the top of the pumpkin, like you are cutting a halloween jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds, put the top back on, and bake on a tray in oven for about 45 minutes.
While pumpkin is baking, cook the macaroni according to al dente instructions and set aside.
Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan for a for about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue to fry until the bacon is cooked and golden brown. Add it to the al dente macaroni.
In a pot, melt butter. Slowly add the flour while stirring continuously. Cook the flour for at least 1 or 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, while stirring, until the mixture is smooth. Cook for about 7-8 minutes until the mixture thickens and boils. Add a pinch of nutmeg to the cheese sauce.
Add the grated cheese to the flour mixture and melt it together. Add the cooked macaroni and bacon, onion, and garlic into the cheesy mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the mac and cheese into the baked pumpkin. Put the pumpkin top back on and bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, remove the top to allow the cheese to crisp up. Allow the pumpkin to rest around 10 minutes before serving.
*cheese mixture to include sharp cheeses like gruyere or sharp cheddar, along with Red Leicester cheese or American Cheddar. A store bought 4 cheese blend would work, as long as one of the cheeses is sharp. If not, add sharp cheddar or gruyere.