16 oz - dried campanelle pasta (you can use any time of noodles that you like)
¼ cup - unsalted butter
¼ cup - all purpose flour
2 ½ cups - fat free half and half (or any kind of milk you like)
¼ tsp – onion powder
½ tsp – ground coriander
1 1/2 - tsp - chili powder
1/4 tsp - cumin
1 Tbsp – yellow mustard powder
1 pinch – nutmeg
1 tsp – minced fresh garlic
¼ cup – minced shallots (you can use onions as well or just add more onion powder)
1/8 tsp - ground black pepper
1/2 tsp – kosher salt (separated)zest of 1/2 a lime
3/4 cup – canned pureed pumpkin (or 1 large sweet potato that has been baked and then mashed without the skin)
8 oz – cream cheese (room temperature + cut into cubes) (I use neufchatel cream cheese that is lower in fat but still tastes good)
3 Tbsp – plain bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot bring water for pasta to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to directions on package. Cook to the minimum time given on the package so that the noodles are al dente. Pour the noodles into a colander and drain. Set aside.
In a large deep sauce pan melt the butter over medium high heat. Once melted add the flour and whisk together. Keep whisking for about 3 minutes. Slowly add in the fat free half and half (or milk), about a ¼ cup at a time. Keep whisking and add in onion powder, coriander, chili powder, cumin, mustard powder, nutmeg, garlic, shallots, pepper, lime zest and 1/4 tsp of salt. Whisk continually for about 5 minutes. Then mix in the pumpkin. Once the pumpkin is mixed in, turn burner down to simmer. Add cream cheese and whisk until incorporated and sauce is smooth. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the shredded cheeses. Whisk until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth (only lumps should be the shallots).
Once sauce is smooth, taste for more salt and add the remaining ¼ tsp if needed. Pour in cooked pasta and stir. If your saucepan can go into the oven, smooth out top of casserole and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. If it cannot, pour into casserole dish and then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
50 minutes to prep
20-25 minutes to cook in oven
Serves 8 people.
For some additional toppings you could caramelize onions and sprinkle them over the top before baking and then put the breadcrumbs over the onions. If you like bacon, you can cook about 4 slices of bacon (I used turkey, you can use any kind you want) in a saute pan until crispy. After you remove the bacon from the pan, add about 1 Tbsp of butter and then caramelize the onions in the butter and bacon with some thyme. Add the onions to the top of the mac-n-cheese and then crumble bacon over as well. This was amazing!
I know it seems like a long list of dry spices to include, but this is just the best mixture I've found. It still tastes great without the lime or if you don't have coriander or nutmeg, it's ok to leave them out or use your own favorite mixture of spices.
Labels: chicken, mac-n-cheese, pot pie