Once upon a time, I had oodles of time to cook well-planned, lovingly-prepared meals several nights a week. Or that’s how I remember it, at any rate. I’m no longer even sure when (or if) these culinary golden days took place. Maybe during my senior year of college? Maybe during the summer months of grad school when classes weren’t in session? The details are hazy. Lately it seems like I plan out one proper dinner a week (maaaybe two if I’m feeling particularly ambitious) and then scrounge for ingredients the rest of the days, grumpily longing for those years (i.e., childhood) when my mom took care of all things dinner-related, efforts that unfortunately I did not fully appreciate at the time.
So when my stomach is already rumbling and I’ve run short on patience energy, I’m thankful for recipes like this one-pot pumpkin ale mac and cheese. As the name suggests, it cooks up in just one pot, PLUS it only takes 30 minutes or less from start to finish! This is comfort food at its finest—carbs and cheese—but with an adult (read: alcoholic) twist. The liquids used to cook the pasta turn into the sauce for the mac and cheese without a drop going to waste, and yes, one of those liquids is…pumpkin ale! I’ve had pumpkin mac and cheese before and I’ve had beer mac and cheese before, so I figured, why not pumpkin ale mac and cheese?
The result is a creamy and robust dish that will fulfill your cravings both for comfort food and for something a little more sophisticated. This one-pot pumpkin ale mac and cheese is the perfect meal to enjoy on a chilly night, curled up on the couch with a spooky movie—or perhaps It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, if you’re like me and can’t handle horror flicks, even the ones other people consider super cheesy. Cheesy pasta = good. Cheesy horror flicks = I’m hiding in the next room and won’t sleep for a week.
What are your Halloween plans this year? And do you know of any good, non-scary Halloween movies? I’d love to hear!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups milk (I use non-fat)
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) pumpkin ale
- 1 pound rotini (or similar pasta)
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4-6 tablespoons parmesan (optional)
- In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring to prevent sticking.
- Add the broth, milk, and pumpkin ale to the stockpot. Bring to a simmer (but NOT a rolling boil), and then add the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is al dente, about 10-13 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure all the pasta gets cooked evenly.
- Once the pasta is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add the grated cheese and stir until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the pumpkin, salt, and red pepper flakes (if using). Sprinkle parmesan on top (if using) and serve.
- While the alcohol cooks out, the flavor of the ale does not, so I wouldn’t recommend serving this to kids (or to people who dislike the taste of pumpkin ale).
- Method inspired by Show Me The Yummy
Cake Lover says
This method of making mac and cheese is intriguing and ingenious! It sounds like a “magic” dinner to me.
I knew as soon as I saw the method on Show Me The Yummy that I’d have to try it! Gotta love meals that are quick to make AND quick to clean up!
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says
This pumpkin ale mac and cheese looks divine! A bowl of comfort! Definitely will give this a try!
Thanks! It really is a bowl of comfort…like a hug in a bowl! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do 🙂
This really looks delicious! So creamy and cheesy – two of my favorite things. I had never heard of beer or ale to make mac and cheese. I bet it gives such an interesting flavor.
“Cheesy” is one of my favorite food groups 😛 Actually, now that I think about it more, I’m not sure I’ve tried beer mac and cheese before this, but I’ve tried beer cheese dip and beer cheese soup. At any rate, they pair quite nicely!
chef mimi says
oh my god this looks good. and i’m not even a mac n cheese gal!
Well gosh, that’s saying something! Thanks!
Oh my gosh yes, where did those days go? I remember having an airtight meal plan, cooking at home six days a week, no excuses. Somehow, in the last few years that’s fallen by the wayside, in favor of takeout chicken shawarmas 😉
I love how you simmer the pasta in the flavorful liquids in this recipe. Adds so much flavor, and keeps it all to one pot. Love this!
Exactly—this method is wonderfully convenient and gives the pasta a ton of flavor! And I have no idea how I used to find so much time/energy; what I *do* know is that chicken shawarmas are pretty fantastic…
Patty K says
Oh my goodness! So dreamy! I love that you don’t need a roux either! The cheese in my mac and cheese never seems to be creamy or cheesy enough. Perhaps this will be my saving grace 😀
I hope this version is to your liking! Let me know what you think if you give it a try 🙂
The one thing great about mac and cheese is you can make such creative versions of it. Pumpkin and beer – I would definitely eat a bowl of this. Thanks for sharing with us… 🙂
Exactly! The variations are endless. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
I’m a mac and cheese fan and a beer fan so this dish is a winner! I don’t know how I used to work full time and have a meal on the table every night. My house was always clean as were my children. Now it’s like bleh lets surf pinterest. Dinner? later.
Wow, I don’t know how you had the time or energy for that, either…I’m impressed! I hope you get a chance to try this!
Fun idea! Love it as a seasonal mac and cheese. My energy for cooking comes and goes…thank goodness for leftovers (I cook BIG batches) and take out!
Leftovers can be a real lifesaver, right?! And you’ve described this perfectly…a “seasonal mac and cheese”! Thanks!
I like the alcoholic twist! Yum! And, it’s great how easy this dish is to make. As we head into the colder weather, this looks like the perfect comfort food. Happy FF, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 🙂
Thanks! This is definitely a great meal for the chilly days ahead. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Awesome! I love beer and I love cheese and I love pasta. This just may be my dream dish! Lol. Thanks for bringing it to FF!
Yes, it sounds like this dish if perfect for you! I hope you get a chance to try it sometime 🙂
Feeding Finn says
This looks and sounds delicious and I love that there is only one pot to clean up 🙂 I make butternut squash mac and cheese but will be giving this a try next time.
Ooh, butternut squash mac and cheese sounds awesome! I went with pumpkin for the convenience this time, but I’ll have to try butternut squash sometime. Thanks for stopping by!
This looks amazing – especially with the pumpkins in the background! Loving it!
Thanks! I’m glad you like the little pumpkins in the background…I’ve gone a bit overboard this year with the fall décor, but I just can’t help myself!
sweetteasweetie (@SweetTSweetie) says
This looks so delicious! I am such a sucker for mac and cheese!
Thanks! Me too – that’s what makes trying new varieties so fun, I think!
Wow this looks so good! You can’t beat a good bowl of mac n cheese! x #recipeoftheweek
Thanks! There’s a reason most of us never outgrow our childhood fondness for mac and cheese, even if the varieties change 🙂
Christine @ Cooking with Cakes says
obsessing over how simple and delicious this recipe is!!! SO fall and SO easy, ping for sure! x
Given how easy this is, it’s a real testament to my self-control that I haven’t been making it every night! Oh wait, no, it’s because I ran out of cheese…
Beffs Dealz says
I did not read all comments…what if Pumpkin Ale not in season? What beer would you substitute?
Hmm, I have to admit that I haven’t tried this with a non-pumpkin ale, but I looked at some similar recipes online and it seems that pale ales and amber beers are popular choices for adding to mac and cheese. Let me know how it goes if you try it!