Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Serves 4 plus leftovers depending on appetite (this a great dish to have frozen on hand for reheating on those apocalyptically hungover Sundays stuck in bed)

  • 500g maccaroni pasta
  • 1 small Hokkaido pumpkin (approx 1kg), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium size onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

  • (The above ingredients are getting blended so don’t worry about appearance)

  • 450ml warm chicken stock
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • A sprig of thyme and rosemary
  • 150g bergkase, grated
  • 50g parmesan reggiano, grated

In a large pot, gently sweat the onion with a little olive oil and a good knob of butter. Once translucent and fragrant, add the garlic and pumpkin, stir to combine, turn up the heat and add the stock, placing on top the thyme and rosemary. Bring to the boil then reduce to steady simmer, lid ajar to help speed the cooking time while allowing stem to reduce.

Meanwhile cook the maccaroni in a large pot of salty water till just Al dente. Drain and leave to the side. Once the pumpkin is cooked and most of the stock reduced, remove the thyme and rosemary, leave to cool for minute then puree with an immersion blender. The desired consistency should be like double cream - if it’s too thick or thin adjust accordingly. Season to taste. Return the cooked pasta to it’s cooking pot, add the pumpkin puree and grated cheese, then stir well to ensure the cheese has evenly combined.

Add the pasta, cheese and puree mix to a medium size baking dish (24 x 19 x 6cm works perfectly for me), cook in a preheated oven at 180 °C for 20-30mins till the cheese is fragrant and the top is golden. Serve with a simple green salad.

Questions for Bell Towers

  • - A signature dish of yours (incl. recipe)
    Pumpkin maccaroni & cheese
  • - A movie you recommend
    Sticking with the theme here - hard to go past Sideways (2004)
  • - A restaurant you would like to share
    St John Bread and Wine forever-er-er-er…
  • - Your ideal way of relaxation?
    A gentle walk on a fine day with my girlfriend and our dog
  • - Something you would like to change?
    My bank balance
  • - Something you would want to remain the same?
    My youthfulness
  • - A piece of music that is important to you?
    Franz Liszt "Au lac de Wallenstadt"
  • - Something that you would like to be a scientific fact
    Cheese is slimming.

  • - A word that is dear to you
  • - Who should we interview next?
    Samo DJ