Smoky Skillet Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Serves: 6


  • 1 pound (16 ounces) spiral pasta (such as cavatappi or trottole)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 6 ounces bacon, diced in 1/4-inch cubes

  • 6 large cloves garlic, skins on and tips sliced

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 cups whole milk, plus more for thinning the sauce

  • 1 15-ounce can Green Valley pumpkin

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or substitute parmesan)

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

  • 4 tablespoons chopped green onions, divided

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, divided



    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente according to package directions, about 7-9 minutes. Drain the noodles and toss with the oil to prevent sticking. 

  3. While the pasta is cooking, place a large cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-low        heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden-brown, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. 


  4. Add the garlic cloves to the bacon fat and cook, turning every few minutes, until golden-brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and set aside to cool. Pour the fat into a bowl, but don’t wipe out the skillet.

  5. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the fat and stir to combine with the breadcrumbs. 

  6. Once the garlic is cooled, remove the skins and mash the cloves with the flat side of a large knife.

  7. Add the milk and pumpkin to a large saucepot and place over medium heat. Whisk to combine and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

  8. Turn off the heat, and stir in the roasted garlic, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and cayenne. Gradually fold in the gouda, Pecorino, and 1 1/4 cups of the cheddar until thoroughly combined.

  9. Add the pasta, half of the bacon, 3 tablespoons green onions, 1/2 tablespoon sage, and stir until the noodles are well-coated in the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the cast iron skillet and top with the breadcrumbs, remaining cheddar, and bacon.

  10. Bake until golden-brown on top and bubbly around the edges, about 20-25 minutes. Rest the mac and cheese for about 5 minutes and then divide among bowls, garnish with the remaining green onions and sage, and serve.

Final Step

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