Fall is here and this recipe uses one of autumn’s best vegetables in an unexpected way. By using skim milk, pumpkin puree and a flavorful duo of cheeses you end up with comfort food at its finest. If you don’t care for the smoked flavor of the Gouda, feel free to substitute another full flavored cheese.WATCH THE VIDEO ON KUTV2
2 1/2 T unsalted butter
3 T flour
2 C skim milk
1 C canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
½ t cayenne
1 T thyme, minced
2 t salt
3 oz ea smoked Gouda and white cheddar, grated
3/4 # whole wheat fusilli pasta
1 slice bacon
½ C whole wheat panko bread crumbs
Cook Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and set aside
Prepare béchamel: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk until the mixture is well combined. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until raw flour taste is gone. While whisking vigorously, slowly add skim milk. Continue whisking while mixture cooks for 5 minutes or until thick. Stir in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cayenne, thyme, salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat and add grated cheese.
Combine cooked pasta and pumpkin béchamel. Pour into 9×12 oven proof baking dish. Set aside while you prepare crumb topping.
Prepare crumb topping: Cut bacon into small dice. Cook bacon in a medium skillet until cooked through. Drain on paper toweling. In the same skillet, add panko crumbs and toss lightly to coat with reserved bacon drippings. When lightly browned, remove from heat and add cooked bacon. Sprinkle crumb topping on top of pasta.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until topping is crisp and golden brown.