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Recipe: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Serves 8

2 cups dried elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup skim milk

4 ounces Gouda or fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée

1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or ½ teaspoon dried leaf sage, crushed

½ cup soft bread crumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh sage leaves, optional

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, and then return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Add the whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cheese, pumpkin and sage until the cheese melts. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta to coat. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts and oil; sprinkle over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage leaves.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

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It’s no secret that pumpkin is the ingredient du jour. You will find it everywhere. At popular coffee chains, pumpkin is in everything from lattés to muffins to breads. In the fall, grocery stores devote more shelf space to canned pumpkin — and often it’s on sale. Don’t confuse it with pumpkin pie filling, which also comes in a can. …

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