Inspired by Rachael Ray! I didn’t change much from her original recipe.
Pumpkin Sausage Mac and Cheese
1 lb short cut pasta, such as elbows or penne
1 lb hot or sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casing
4 tbsp butter
3 rounded tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock or lager-style beer
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
I tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp allspice, or to taste
A few pinches cayenne pepper
A pinch nutmeg, or to taste
1 (14 oz) can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
Preheat oven to 375.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, brown Italian sausage in a sauté pan, drain and set aside.
In a large sauce pot, melt butter. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook for one minute. Turn up the heat slightly, add chicken stock or beer and reduce until the liquid is almost evaporated ( it will be very thick). Add milk and spices, whisk and cook mixture until it bubbles and gets thick, 3-5 minutes.
Once thick, add in pumpkin purée and 2 cups of cheese and cook until sauce is completely smooth. Taste and re-season sauce if necessary.
Combine cooked pasta, sausage, and pumpkin cheese sauce and pour into a large baking dish (at least 9 x 13). Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until bubbly, then turn on the broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.