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Stir together milk and pumpkin puree.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil add a generous amount of salt (2½ – 3 tablespoons) and then the pasta. Boil pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and whisk together. Allow mixture to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in thyme.
Whisk pumpkin-milk mixture into flour mixture and continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Allow mixture to simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and stir cheese into the béchamel sauce, in small handfuls, and stir until cheese just melts before adding more cheese.
Reduce heat to low and gently stir pasta into the sauce, ½ cup at a time until all of the pasta has been added and is fully coasted in sauce. Adjust seasonings.
Serve Pumpkin Mac and Cheese into bowls and top with fresh thyme and toasted panko.