Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese ~ the key here is to remind yourself that, first and foremost, pumpkin a winter squash, not a pie filling.  After you’ve got that down it’s easy to imagine it marrying with Italian sausage (spicy please!) and fragrant sage in a creamy mac and cheese.  It just makes delicious sense!

spicy sausage and pumpkin mac & cheese

All that being said, the pumpkin presence in this mac and cheese is mild ~ even my pumpkin avoiding husband loved it.  I think it has something to do with the spicy sausage ;)

spicy sausage and pumpkin mac & cheese 3

I love this recipe because it turns mac & cheese into a complete meal.  Add a bit of salad and some cornbread, and you’ve got a comforting feast.

spicy sausage and pumpkin mac & cheese 4

I baked mine in individual ‘cocottes’ or dutch ovens, which you can find at discount department stores (Marshall’s, Home Goods, TJ MAXX) or online.  But this mac & cheese is just as good family style in your regular casserole dish.  You can assemble it ahead of time and bake it later, just be sure not to over cook the pasta so it stays firm.

Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Yield: serves 4-6

Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese


  • 2 heaping cups dry cellentani pasta (or elbows,)
  • 1 lb spicy Italian sausage (either in bulk or in casings)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated (use Gruyere or Fontina too)
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage (the dried will not do!)
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  1. set the oven to 350F
  2. Cook the pasta in lots of well salted water until just shy of al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so you don';t want it too soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. Brown the sausage in a pan over medium heat until all the pink is gone. If your sausage is in links, remove it from the casing first. Break up the meat as you cook it so that it forms small crumbles. Drain off any excess fat and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the flour, Stir to combine and cook for a minute, but do not brown. Slowly add the milk to the pan while stirring, making sure to get all the flour off the bottom and edges of the pan. Heat the milk until it thickens, stirring constantly. Do not let the milk boil.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pumpkin and the cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
  6. Add the sausage and the cooked pasta to the pan, along with the sage, and blend well. Taste and add salt and pepper.
  7. Turn the pasta into individual baking dishes or one casserole. Bake for about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  8. Serve hot with fresh sage as a garnish.

Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese


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28 Responses to Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

  1. Ann Baker says:

    Incredibly delicious..will definitely be making this again sometime this fall/winter. I did take the liberty to make some minor modifications: a) Used mild Italian sausage and then added a little cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce (this way I can control the heat a bit better) and b) I used about 2TBS of sage in the casserole c) I toasted some panko breadcrumbs with a little butter in a skillet, threw in the remaining 1 TBS fresh sage and sprinkled on top before baking.

    LOVE your blog too. Just subscribed!

  2. Oh my goodness this looks delicious! What an interesting combination.

  3. Incredibly delicious and comforting! I hope to get my fix of pumpkin, soon ;)

  4. Oh my goodness this looks amazing!!! Super excited to try. Pinned!

  5. Susan says:

    I have to get over the ‘pumpkin means dessert’ mentality too. The spicy sausage in your mac & cheese sounds delicious!

  6. What a wondeful combination for a Mac and cheese. Sue, we love the pumpkin and spicy sausage in this one. I still have some homemade pumpkin purée left, I think i will make this mac and cheese this week. Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

  7. Amy says:

    OK. Let’s talk. I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I just don’t like it. But I do like all the varieties of squash in the store these days .. Carnival, Golden Acorn, Delicata .. is it possible that I would like actual pumpkin once you take out the pumpkin pie spices? And when you talk about using pumpkin puree, is that from a can? Is it possible to buy an actual pumpkin and use that? If so, probably not one of the huge orange ones bred to be jack-o-lanterns. I’d rather use fresh if at all possible. Please advise!

  8. I love pumpkin mac and cheese, what an incredible dish!

  9. Linda says:

    This looks heartwarming and delicious!

  10. yep! I am gonna have to do this one. The pumpkin flavor alongside the creamy cheese and spicy sausage. It seriously could not be any better. It looks amazing

  11. Amanda says:

    This looks amazing!

  12. Oh goodness, all the flavors in this mac n cheese are sensational. My family would love this especially since it’s so gooey. YUM!

  13. Love this Fall flavoured mac and cheese! While everybody loves the add of sausage, I am all the pumpkin in there. An awesome dish, Sue.

  14. sippitysup says:

    The sausage really elevates this from the expected. GREG

  15. Sounds great and I just passed this on to my daughter who adores mac and cheese! This is like fall on a plate!

  16. I’m loving all the flavors you have going on here, Sue! Pumpkin and sage, sausage and cheese, and pasta! I can’t imagine a more satisfying, seasonal dish ;)

  17. Monica says:

    I’m totally with you on this. Lovely savory way to enjoy pumpkin. It looks beautiful and must be so flavorful and satisfying with the sausage.

  18. This looks so, so delicious! I have got to give this a go!

  19. Love this fall inspired mac n cheese! for some reason I never make mac n cheese and forget how easy it is to make!

  20. What a brilliant combination of sausage, pumpkin and sage! My family will love this :)

  21. This is so… delicious looking Sue, definitely not your run of the mill Mac Cheese. It’s funny, I’m not a huge sage lover until fall rolls around, then all of a sudden I love it. I have a feeling, this would make me love it even more.

    • Sue says:

      I know what you mean about sage, it has such a powerful aroma, I sometimes find it off putting, but I think when you cook with it, it mellows out.

  22. Beautiful dish Sue! I bet the sausage really adds a bunch of savory flavor to this cheesy goodness! Love the sage and the photos are fantastic! Stop by and enter my giveaway when you get the chance :) Celebrating 4 years of blogging!

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