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Thanksgiving Recipe: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This comforting classic is a great Thanksgiving recipe or general winter warmer to have up your sleeve. 

This Thanksgiving recipe uses pumpkin, a holiday staple, but can be adapted to use any kind of winter squash you have e.g. butternut squash. Extra flourishes could include sage, truffle, and a breadcrumb on top.

Watch the video below on how to make this mac and cheese recipe:


(Makes 1 large tray or two smaller trays) 

  • Half a pumpkin, roasted until soft (deseeded and skinned)
  • 500g dried short pasta shape of your choice e.g. macaroni, penne, rigatoni 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g salted butter
  • 300g flour
  • 600 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp English mustard
  • 300g mature cheese, grated
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra cheese for topping


  1. Cut the half pumpkin in half again and lay the halves out on a baking tray, flesh side up. Reserve the seeds and roast at another time for a delicious snack!
  2. Sprinkle over 2 tbsps of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the pumpkin at 200°C for about 40 minutes, until soft.
  4. When the pumpkin is cool enough, scoop out the flesh and blend with 1 tbsp olive oil until you have a smooth puree.
  5. Fill a large pan with water and 1 tbsp salt and bring to a boil ready to cook your pasta.
  6. Cook your pasta for 3 minutes less than the suggested time so that it is slightly undercooked as it will be baked in the sauce later on. Reserve 1 cup full of the starchy pasta water.

For the cheese sauce:

  1. Cut your butter into small chunks and melt on low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Once the butter is melted, gradually add your plain flour and whisk in to create a smooth paste.
  3. Continue to add the flour until the paste thickens into a dough that can be lifted clean off the saucepan.
  4. Gradually add milk to the dough until the texture changes again back into a smoother paste.
  5. Add 2 tsp English mustard and stir in thoroughly.
  6. Continue to add the milk until the sauce becomes silky and smooth. Use a whisk to work out any lumps in the sauce. Add liquid or flour depending on whether the sauce is too thick or thin. Taste as you go along and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
  7. Once the sauce is silky, add your pumpkin puree and stir in thoroughly.
  8. Once your pumpkin puree has been fully incorporated, continue to stir over a medium heat.
  9. Grate your mature cheddar (or strong cheese of choice) and add the cheddar to the white sauce. Stir until the sauce has melted.
  10. If you need to add extra liquid but you’ve run out of milk, grab that glassful of starchy pasta water you held back from the pasta. Whisk it in gradually.
  11. In a large pan, combine your hot pasta with the cheesy, pumpkin sauce, making sure every last bit of pasta is coated.
  12. Transfer the cheesy pasta into 1 large or 2 smaller baking dishes, and top with extra cheese and black pepper.
  13. Bake in a 180°C – 200°C  oven with foil over the top for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes until the cheesy crust is golden.
  14. Serve hot and oozy!

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