Mac & Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin

by Kathy Strahs on October 17, 2013 · 18 comments

Post image for Mac & Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin

I’ll jump right to the punch line: this Mac & Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin was the best macaroni and cheese recipe I’ve ever made. That sounds overstated, but it’s true. And the thing is…I have a feeling I’ll want to say that after each recipe I try from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.

Forgive me, I may gush a little here but it is warranted. I thought I knew mac and cheese. This cookbook showed me nuances and places and directions that I never imagined mac and cheese could go.

Find Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese at Amazon

Take this recipe I’m sharing today, for example – which, in the book, is called Pumpkin Stuffed with Fontina, Italian Sausage and Macaroni. From the first glance, you know you’ve got something unique (my 3-year old has been bragging to everyone this week, “Mommy made mac and cheese in a pumpkin!!”). It’s not just a beautiful presentation, though – it tastes amazing too. The easy melting Fontina and Gruyère cheeses, the zesty sausage and woodsy herbs…all of these ingredients incredibly well-matched for the flesh of the sweet sugar pumpkin that contains them.

My friends Stephanie Stiavetti (of The Culinary Life) and Garrett McCord (of Vanilla Garlic) not only know their cheese pairings inside and out, but they showcase them superbly with a deep respect for the ingredients. And the recipes go way beyond just casseroles. It’s all about pairing pasta and amazing cheese, in every delicious way possible. I keep flipping back to the Chicken Breast Stuffed with Leonora Goat Cheese, Star Pasta and Crushed Gingersnaps recipe as well as the sweet section. Yes, there is even dessert-worthy macaroni and cheese in there. The Fromage Blanc, Chevre, Peach and Ghost Pepper Cannelloni is such a dazzling concept!

Without question, this is a book for cheese lovers. While I wasn’t familiar many of the cheeses mentioned, Stephanie and Garrett confidently guide us through what makes each cheese special and the right choice for the dish. Melt is a true celebration of macaroni and cheese – a celebration I highly recommend joining!

Mac & Cheese in a Pumpkin...from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike October 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Great recipe with a beautiful presentation. I think your photo is excellent too!


Kathy Strahs October 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Thank you!!


Garrett October 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Thank you so much for the high praise! I’m so glad your family enjoyed the recipe and the book! I’ve got to say, after seeing your photos I think I need to go and make this for myself again!
Garrett´s last blog post ..Panic: Sweet Potato Waffles


Kathy Strahs October 17, 2013 at 11:53 AM

You and Stephanie must have had an amazing time creating all of these wonderful dishes!


Stephanie October 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

We did! I’m almost afraid to think about how much cheese we consumed in a year. 😉

And thank you for this wonderful post. So glad your boy liked the dish. Little ones are a tough crowd!
Stephanie´s last blog post ..12 Food Bloggers’ Favorite Cookbooks: A #Giveaway


sara October 17, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Yum, this looks AMAZING! What a great idea. I’ve done pumpkin stuffed with bread and cheese, but the idea of stuffing it with mac and cheese is so cool! 🙂
sara´s last blog post ..Pizza Bianca e Verde


Deauna October 18, 2013 at 4:06 AM

This is such a beautiful presentation! A great recipe too. Definitely inspires me too try cooking Mac and cheese in different ways.
Deauna´s last blog post ..Pan-Fried Pumpkin Pie Polenta


Chelsea October 18, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Wow! That is so cool – my kids would LOVE eating out of a pumpkin, too… who am I kidding… I would LOVE it, too -ha!
Chelsea´s last blog post ..Woody Harrelson’s Parenting Advice for Owen Wilson


Stephanie @ Plain Chicken October 20, 2013 at 11:38 AM

What a beautiful dish! Looks delicious.
Stephanie @ Plain Chicken´s last blog post ..What’s For Dinner?


Angela October 23, 2013 at 5:07 PM

AMAZING!! Just made this tonight. Really easy and tasted awesome! They guys really liked it. I used chicken sausage since I have a non-pork eater. Went well with the unoaked Viognier (I had a Hilmy Cellars wine).


Kathy Strahs October 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Awesome!! I’m glad it worked out! 🙂


shannon linde October 22, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Hello! I am going to make this for my pot luck at work!! Do you feel like any of it could be done the night before? What a fantastic idea!!!


Kathy Strahs October 22, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Hi Shannon — You could feasibly assemble and par-bake it ahead of time, but you really do want to finish baking just before serving. Maybe if your office has a full oven it would work? ~ Kathy


Kathy Strahs November 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Hi Shannon — I got a little more insight/advice to share, from one of the book’s authors: “I cook the pasta the night before, then throw the entire prepared filling in a zip-lock in the fridge. I scrape out the pumpkin the night before, too. Then when I need to cook it, I salt the inside if the pumpkin, empty in the bag of filling, and bake. Voila! Ideally the chilled stuff can be set out for 30 minutes before cooking to come to room temp, but if that’s not possible, just cook an extra seven minutes.”


Brady October 29, 2014 at 11:41 AM

If I was wanting to quadruple this recipe for a Fall themed dinner, do you think it would still cook and turn out fine if I quad the ingredients and cook in a larger pumpkin? Thanks much.


Kathy Strahs November 1, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Hi Brady — I checked with the authors of the book, and here’s their advice: “Thing you have to ensure is the pumpkin is thick enough so that it doesn’t split during cooking. It’s something that has never happened to me before or to anyone I know who has made this recipe, but more liquid means more internal pressure.” ~ Kathy


Cassandra Sullivan October 28, 2017 at 12:03 AM

Do you think I could make it in individual pumpkins? Like the little ones, so everyone has one on their plate?


Kathy Strahs October 28, 2017 at 8:49 AM

Maybe? I haven’t tried it. Little pumpkins are a lot harder to hollow out, I think. It certainly would look cute, just not sure how easy it would be to execute. ~Kathy


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