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I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into my kids meals and use what the season offers. Adding pureed pumpkin to mac-n-cheese, allows me to boost the nutrition and cut down on the amount of cheese I need to use.
Chef Kara Tip:
You can feel free to use any cheese you like – my kids love gouda and will eat anything made with it, so this is a great way to pump up the nutrition in mac-n-cheese. Brie or gorgonzola would be excellent substitutes.
Chef Kara Tip:
If you don’t have time to roast the pumpkins – canned pumpkin is a great alternative. All the same nutrition – not as much work. Use about 2-2.5 cups.
- 2 small sugar pie pumpkins
- Olive oil
- 1 pkg. apple chicken sausage
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
- 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
- Pre-heat oven to 400°. Slice the pumpkins in half and scoop out all the seeds. Lightly rub the flesh of all the pumpkin halves with a small amount of oil and salt and pepper. Turn face down on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Once slightly cool, scoop cooked flesh into blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Slice sausage into ¼ inch thick slices. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with a small amount of olive oil. Add sausage and cook until slightly brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- To make the roux, in the same skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the finely chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Don’t let the roux cook too much that it starts to color. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue to cook until thickened, whisking frequently about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese and the pureed pumpkin, stirring until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- While making sauce, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to pan. Add the cooked sausage and the pumpkin sauce. Enjoy immediately.