Secret Recipe Club: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again.

For those of you not in the know, SRC is a collection of bloggers who make each other's recipes (in secret, of course) and reveal them on a given date. Every Monday, about 30-50 people reveal the recipe they have been assigned for that month. Everyone gets to see all the delicious recipes other folks have made and you get to fill your to do list with plenty of delicious things.

This month, I was assigned Melissa's blog, BKLYN Locavore. Melissa works in marketing by day but on the weekends she is an avid blogger and foodie who is super involved in the Park Slope food co-op. She started Brooklyn Locavore in order experiment with eating locally through the food co-op and her CSA shares.

This experiment in eating locally really spoke to me. When I first moved to the East Coast from California, I was most distraught by the food prices and the lack of local markets. In California, I only went to my local market where it was impossible to find asparagus or strawberries any time other than their short seasons. It was the kind of market where you could go to the mushy vegetables section and buy 10 lbs of ginger for $4 or 5 lbs of eggplant for $3 just because they were a little past their prime. It forced you to make ginger beer or a giant pan of eggplant and it was amazing.

I miss it. I miss hating grapefruit because that's the only fruit you got all winter. I miss being excited about artichokes coming into season

Melissa had so many great recipes on her blog, but I really took her challenge to heart when choosing my recipe this month. As great as her Horseradish Crusted Prime Rib or her Beer Braised Shortribs looked, I just had to go with her healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. After all, I had half a pumpkin leftover from my CSA box.

My husband and I both LOVED this macaroni and cheese recipe. It is creamy, cheesy and doesn't taste like the vegetables that are hiding inside. It doesn't have the super creamy texture of boxed mac and cheese or frozen mac and cheese, but it is so much better for you and better tasting. We really loved this recipe and will absolutely add it to our regular rotation.

Melissa says her recipe serves 8 so we cut it in half. We still had a great amount that is easily 6 side dish portions or 4 main dish portions. 

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
  • 1/2 lb pasta (penne, elbows, etc)
  • 1 cup pureed roasted pumpkin (or butternut, or acorn squash)
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup mixed cheeses (I used a combo of cheddar and jack, but aged gouda or fontina would be excellent as well)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs (panko, preferably)
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • parmesean cheese and parsley if desired
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain in a colander and set aside
  2. Whisk together milk and pumpkin puree until it comes to a low simmer.
  3. Add cheese, salt, mustard, cayenne and chili powder and whisk until smooth
  4. Remove from heat and add pasta. Stir until well coated
  5. Pour pasta into baking dish and top with bread crumbs, olive oil and parmesean cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Eat immediately


  1. Oh my gosh! This looks wonderful! Where have I been that I've never heard of Pumpkin Mac and Cheese before?! I've seriously been missing out.

  2. Pumpkin is my favorite! I've used squash in mac and cheese, but not pumpkin. This sounds amazing!

  3. Mac and cheese is definitely my favorite. Never made a pumpkin mac and cheese so I will have to give this one a go!

  4. I love pumpkin mac and cheese and this one sounds wonderful!

  5. I've had mac and cheese before, but never pumpkin mac and cheese- it sounds amazing!! Was just looking for recipes to use up my pumpkin a couple of dayys ago..... if only I saw this!

  6. Great one for the season! I make a pumpkin lasagna and a butternut squash mac and cheese, but never a pumpkin mac and cheese. Will definitely have to give this a whirl. yum

    1. I would have normally used butternut squash but that's the beauty of having things in stock that need to be used. My pumpkin puree was such a bright yellow that it really gave this pasta the fake cheese color lol

  7. I do this all the time with butternut squash puree - mix it right into the cheese roux but I've never tried with pumpkin!


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