This Pumpkin Bacon Mac and Cheese is an easy, decadent fall dish. It’s ultra creamy, comes together right on the stove-top, and is laced with your favorite autumn flavors.
- 1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta
- 8 ounces bacon, diced
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons bacon fat (rendered from bacon)*
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 2 cups shredded medium white cheddar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts, optional
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- In a deep saute pan, cook the bacon until crispy over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crispy diced bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Carefully pour the bacon fat into a small bowl.
- Lower your heat to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat back into the pan. Cook the shallots until softened and beginning to caramelize.
- Once the shallots are cooked, add in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Melt until bubbly, and stir in the flour. Cook the roux mixture until a bit deeper in color to cook out the flour taste, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the salted, boiling water and cook until al dente.
- To the roux, slowly pour in the milk, whisking or stirring constantly while pouring to avoid lumps. Once the milk is completely incorporated, season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to gently simmer and thicken slightly.
- Stir in the pumpkin, paprika, Dijon, and nutmeg. Bring back to a simmer, and slowly stir in the Parmesan and cheddar cheeses. Stir the sauce until the cheese has fully incorporated and melted, and the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat, and stir in the sage.
- Drain the cooked pasta and return back to the pot. Pour the cheese sauce over and gently stir the pasta and sauce until completely combined. Stir back in the crispy, cooked bacon, reserving a bit for garnish.
- Divide the Pumpkin Bacon Mac and Cheese between bowls and top with additional bacon, fresh sage, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts (if using). Enjoy!
*I used an 8-ounce package of bacon (Applegate Naturals® Sunday Bacon) and I got plenty of bacon fat for the recipe (about 6 tablespoons, of which I only needed half). If for some reason your bacon doesn’t render enough fat, just replace it tablespoon-for-tablespoon with additional butter.
- Serving Size: 1 of 8
- Calories: 489
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 900mg
- Fat: 27g
- Carbohydrates: 34g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 28g
- Cholesterol: 70mg