Pumpkin stuffed with Fontina, Italian sausage and macaroni cheese

This is a recipe from a book I purchased recently called ‘Melt” based around different macaroni and cheese recipes. It’s terrific and this is a real winner.

Serves 4

1 sugar pumpkin or other sweet variety (not a carving pumpkin), about 5 lbs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb mild Italian pork sausage, skins removed
4 oz elbow macaroni
5 oz fontina cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 oz gruyere cheese, cut into 1/4 inch  cubes
4 scallions, diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F

Cut out a circle from the top of the pumpkin – the way you would to make a jack-o’-lantern  and set aside.
Scoop out the seeds and strings as best as you can. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin, pop the top back on it, place it on a rimmed baking dish (since the pumpkin may leak or weep) and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
Crumble the sausage into small chunks and cook until lightly browned.
Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Discard the drippings or save for the gravy.
Also while the pumpkin bakes, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente.
Drain through a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
In a bowl, toss together the fontina, gruyere, sausage, pasta, scallions and herbs.
When the pumpkin is done baking, take it out of the oven and fill it with the macaroni and cheese mixture.
Pour the cream over the filling.
Place the top back on the pumpkin and bake for 1 hour, taking the top off for the last 15 minutes of cooking so the cheese on top of the filling can get properly brown.
If the top cream still seems a bit too wobbly, give it another 10 mins in the oven.
The cream may bubble over a bit, which is fine. If the pumpkin splits while baking, as occasionally happens, be thankful you set it in a rimmed baking dish and continue to bake!
Allow the pumpkin to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Be careful moving the dish, as the pumpkin may be fragile. 
You can serve this dish two ways;
Cut it into individual servings or just scoop out the insides, including some of the
pumpkin flesh for each serving. 
Season to taste and enjoy!

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