Mac & Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin

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

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

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  1. Mike wrote:

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

    Posted 10.17.13 Reply
  2. Garrett wrote:

    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!

    Posted 10.17.13 Reply
    • You and Stephanie must have had an amazing time creating all of these wonderful dishes!

      Posted 10.17.13 Reply
      • Stephanie wrote:

        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!

        Posted 10.17.13 Reply
  3. sara wrote:

    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! 🙂

    Posted 10.17.13 Reply
  4. Deauna wrote:

    This is such a beautiful presentation! A great recipe too. Definitely inspires me too try cooking Mac and cheese in different ways.

    Posted 10.18.13 Reply
  5. Chelsea wrote:

    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!

    Posted 10.18.13 Reply
  6. What a beautiful dish! Looks delicious.

    Posted 10.20.13 Reply
  7. Angela wrote:

    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).

    Posted 10.23.13 Reply
  8. shannon linde wrote:

    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!!!

    Posted 10.22.14 Reply
    • 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

      Posted 10.22.14 Reply
    • 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.”

      Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  9. Brady wrote:

    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.

    Posted 10.29.14 Reply
    • 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

      Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  10. Cassandra Sullivan wrote:

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

    Posted 10.28.17 Reply
    • 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

      Posted 10.28.17 Reply
  11. Mark Rouleau wrote:

    Excellent dish Kathy, thank you so much for sharing! I made a few very minor tweaks to the recipe as a result of what was available at the grocery store. I used 1/3 teaspoon of each of the herbs in dried form. The sugar pumpkins I found were smaller in the 2.5-3 pound range, I found I needed about 1.5/recipe as written as I quadrupled the recipe and used 5 of the smaller pumpkins. I also used cavatappi pasta instead of macaroni (which looks like you did as well in the picture). Also recommend lining your pan with heavy foil for easy cleanup. The result was amazing! Fortunately my pumpkins did not split, and the presentation was perfect. Very rich flavors which all came together deliciously. The pumpkin was nice and soft on the inside so you could get a little scrape of pumpkin with every bite, mmmmmm. And I’ve found that Italian sausage is an excellent meat with pumpkin. Huge hit with my friends!

    Posted 10.5.22 Reply
  12. Yvonne Canty wrote:

    I just made this omg so very good!!!

    Posted 10.9.22 Reply
  13. Lauren B wrote:

    I made this for a Halloween potluck and it was a hit! I tripled the recipe to feed 12 people.

    I did prep the day before by making the filling and scraping the pumpkins, as suggested in the comments. This helped a ton. I ended up using 2 pumpkins and one regular bowl to serve. I was afraid 3 pumpkins couldn’t cook in the oven at the same time. I baked 2 pumpkins w/ macaroni and 1 bread pan with macaroni at the same time (and with the suggested time & temp) and it worked out great. I’m sure it would’ve been fine to use 3 pumpkins too.

    I feel the fresh herbs and sausage really added to this dish as well.

    Thanks for sharing a memorable dish!

    Posted 10.29.23 Reply