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 TimePrep: 1 hour 25 min. Cook: 20 min.
- 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 Facts1 serving: 521 calories, 28g fat (16g saturated fat), 87mg cholesterol, 1024mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 22g protein.
Originally published as Spicy Sausage and Manchego Mac and Cheese in Simple & Delicious October/November 2015