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Baked Pumpkin Torchio Pasta with Four Cheeses

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 6

Celebrate the flavors of autumn with this grown-up version of macaroni and cheese made with Pumpkin Torchio Pasta from Rustichella d’Abruzzo (the pasta is made with 30% pumpkin purée!). The nutty richness of the pasta lends itself to an ooey, gooey sauce starring creamy alpine-style cheeses, sharp white cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Try adding fun mix-ins like cubes of roasted butternut squash, sautéed kale or make it even more indulgent with crispy bits of pancetta.

Recipe by Asha Loupy

Ingredients

Optional Mix-Ins:

  • Sautéed greens, such as kale, swiss chard or spinach
  • Crispy pancetta bits
  • Cubes of roasted butternut squash or pumpkin
  • Toasted chopped walnuts

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix all four cheeses. Separate out one cup of the cheese mixture and combine in a small bowl with the panko breadcrumbs and olive oil to make the topping for the baked pasta. Set both bowls aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just under al dente, about 7 minutes (the pasta will continue to cook when you bake it). Drain, without rinsing, and return it to the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When the butter starts bubbling, add flour and whisk to combine. Continue to cook until flour begins to turn a light golden color, 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warmed milk, continuing to stir until the sauce slightly thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the reserved cheese, salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add the cheese sauce to the reserved pasta stirring to coat (now is the time you’d add any additional mix-ins).

Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with reserved topping mixture. Bake uncovered until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.