It's definitely feeling more like comfort food season here in New England. While we keep raking leaves in our driveway, they just keep falling! So we really wanted something warm, comforting, and satisfying for dinner the other night to soothe leaf-related frustrations. Mac & Cheese is such a classic American comfort food dish. It's warm, creamy, and soft. Yet I've been seeing some fancied up versions on many a restaurant menu (Phil had Lobster Truffle Mac & Cheese recently!) so I thought it would be cool to make a healthier, gluten-free version.
This one is super creamy and incorporates two of my favorite fall/winter flavors: pumpkin and sage. I decided to bake ours at the last minute to get a little bit of crispy edge on top, but it wasn't necessary. If you're short on time, this works great all mixed together once the pasta is cooked.
I used Lundberg brown rice pasta for this dish. Between that and the Tinkyada brand, I don't feel the need to ever buy wheat pasta again. Phil agrees - we don't miss that heavy, bloated feeling after eating wheat-based pasta, plus we're getting some extra nutrients by substituting brown rice instead. Some gluten-free pastas are pretty lackluster - I'd highly recommend steering clear of any corn-based pastas or white rice-based ones. They tend to have a weird texture and fall apart easily once cooked. There are a few quinoa-based pastas that are pretty good too (with an added bonus of some protein) but I've been really happy with these brown rice ones so far. The texture is great and they hold up when stirred with some sauce.
I also used a can of organic pumpkin puree and some delicious plain goat cheese (the soft kind). These two, along with some cooking water from the pasta, create that rich, creamy texture that all good Mac & Cheeses have! As for the sage, I used some dried sage, but fresh would be even better. Just make sure you chop it finely before adding it to the recipe.
Enjoy this fall comfort dish as much as we did!
Pumpkin Sage Mac & Goat Cheese
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15-20 mins
Keywords: bake saute entree gluten-free vegetarian wheat free soy-free nut-free fall winter