In this past year pasta has almost entirely fallen off of our meal rotation. Although we were never serious pasta eaters, my kids have always adored it. It saddened the bunch, but I set out to eliminate everything and anything “enriched” or “fortified” because it’s just no substitute for wholesome foods. Most of the things regular families rely on, my kids have done without for some time. But pasta? That was the last straw. When I decided to cut out pasta’s of all varieties, they were steamed. I re-introduced pasta in the form of organic rice pastas, and the new “hippie shoe” rice pasta was not accepted without some turbulence. Everyone seems to like it well enough now because either they have adjusted to the new flavor, or … they realized it was better than nothing. Regardless, I win.
Rice pasta sure isn’t as cheap as regular rice or potatoes, so we have come to really value pasta when I finally make it. Although we are not “perfect” eaters, generally we do pretty darn well with getting our nutrient dense foods first. With little kids, balanced eating isn’t so straight forward. My five year old is a bit of a carb addict, and lately he has been sucking the wind out of my sail at meal times. I made him this “Secret Ingredient” macaroni and cheese and FINALLY we had a meal that made everyone happy. The kids got their cheesy pasta and I had the satisfaction of knowing there was a heaping cup of pumpkin in the mix.
Stove Top Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
Pasta in our house is usually a light lunch, whenever possible I mix pasta with lots of veg. Macaroni and cheese is obviously a stand by that is regularly appreciated. Most often I use Alton Brown’s recipe for Stove Top Mac N’ Cheese but I decided to be brave and mix pumpkin into the pot this time. Seeing that I just processed twenty something pounds of squash, I have to say that having this savory pumpkin recipe on hand is absolutely awesome. Even better, this recipe is fast, simple and satisfying. You can crisp some herbs in butter to serve with this or even mix in spinach, tomatoes, chicken or whatever your kids (or loved ones) will tolerate. With a liberal splash of hot sauce, I have to say this was one of the most comforting meals I’ve made in some time! Beta Carotene, Calcium, Iron, Protein, Fiber …. Mmmmm mmmm. Super.
- 12 ounces of your favorite rice pasta
Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 1 cup Homemade Pumpkin Puree (You may want to use less if using Canned Pumpkin )
- 8 to 10 ounces Cheddar Cheese, Grated (About 2 Cups)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Celtic Sea Salt & Pepper
- Prepare your pasta according to manufacturers recommendations. Taste it early and do not forget to stir it regularly.
- In a medium sized pot (2-3 quarts, you can use the same pot you cooked the pasta in) melt your butter with milk over medium heat. Stir in the pumpkin.
- Once the mixture is hot (but not boiling) remove the pan from the heat and stir in grated cheddar cheese. Place back the pot back onto the heat as needed to keep the mixture warm, but be mindful of clumping.
- Stir in Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and serve immediately.
Note: This time I used Jovial Organic Brown Rice Caserecce . Use any pasta you prefer but keep in mind that rice pasta and gluten free pasta’s in general are not super when reheated, you will not want to prepare it in bulk. (I have not found one yet that freezes or stores well.) We most often use Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Elbows (or shells) because they are cheaper and found everywhere.