I'm pretty sure that if I let my kids choose what they wanted to eat for each meal it would be Mac n' Cheese with 98% certainty. Personally I think that the stuff from the box is 98% disgusting. I don't even remember liking it as a kid - but I probably did - just like every other non-discriminating child.
I do remember my mom making homemade mac and cheese though. No powders involved. She still makes her own for my kids when they go over to her house. So it got me thinking - if I have to make this for my kids occasionally anyway, I want to make an adult version that is deeelicious - yet still somewhat healthy. And this is what I came up with.
My husband LOVES cheese. And love is almost an understatement He loves every kind of cheese. Even the really sharp weird looking ones with mold growing all over them. Because of his love for cheese, it has expanded my cheese palate. I definitely don't love every cheese, but one that I do love is Gouda. It has a very creamy smooth texture to match its flavor. Delicious. That was my cheese of choice in this dish and will be the star. Oh, and this isn't just any Gouda - it is smoked.......
Begin my sauteing and onion and 3 cloves of garlic in a bit of olive oil, until the onions are translucent and have softened.
Add to your pan 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, and 1 cup of pumpkin puree.
Let this simmer for a minute or two and then add 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth. Simmer this for another couple of minutes so that everything gets nice and creamy. Salt and Pepper to taste. Oh, and I also added some Smoked Paprika.
Next add your shredded Gouda. Before you add your cheese there is a VERY important step. If you don't follow this step you will not have smooth sauce. After you shred your cheese, but before you add it to the mixture, toss it in a bowl with a little bit of flour. This will help the cheese incorporate and make your sauce smooth and creamy. One recipe I found called for half Gouda and half sharp cheddar. I put more like 3/4 Gouda and 1/4 sharp cheddar. Stir until melted.
Cook about a 13 ounce package of pasta according to the package directions (al dente). Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth, combine it with your cooked pasta.
Sprinkle with additional cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes. The cheese should be bubbly and the top beginning to brown.
Then serve up big spoonfuls to yourself.........and your kids if you must share.