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Sausage Mac & Cheese in a Pumpkin

When family and friends eat this mac, I've heard they're tempted to sing, dance and cheer. It's just so darn good. —Andria Gaskins, Matthews, NC
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour 25 min. Cook: 20 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1 large pie pumpkin (5 to 6 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces uncooked cavatappi or fusilli pasta (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 pound bulk mild or hot Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 6 slices process American cheese (about 4 ounces), quartered
  • 3/4 cup shredded Manchego cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Wash pumpkin. Cut a 5-in. circle around stem; remove top and set aside. Remove strings and seeds from pumpkin; discard seeds or save for roasting.
  • Sprinkle inside of pumpkin with salt and pepper; replace top. Place on a wire rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until tender. Remove top; let pumpkin stand on wire rack until ready to serve.
  • In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 4-6 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up sausage into crumbles; drain.
  • Drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water. In same saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually whisk in cream and stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheeses until blended.
  • Add spinach, roasted pepper, pasta and sausage mixture; toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water to moisten if desired. Spoon into pumpkin; serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 521 calories, 28g fat (16g saturated fat), 87mg cholesterol, 1024mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 22g protein.

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