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Pumpkin-Pimento Cheese Spread Four Different Ways

Chef Lazarus Lynch shares his unique seasonal spin on the traditional pimento dip, and provides four unique ways in which to use it. From deviled eggs to mac and cheese, this spread is certain to become a fall favorite. 

Pumpkin-Pimento Cheese Spread Four Different Ways
Makes 2 cups 

Ingredients

For the pumpkin-pimento cheese spread:
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (from can or roasted)
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon greek yogurt or mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or alternate version 1/8 of each: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger)

For the Pumpkin-Pimento Mac and Cheese:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 10 ounces cooked elbow noodles
1 cup Pumpkin Pimento Cheese Spread
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
1/3 cup chopped cooked bacon, about 2 to 3 strips

For the Pumpkin-Pimento Devilled Eggs:
6 large eggs, hardboiled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
1/3 cup Pumpkin Pimento Cheese Spread
1 tablespoon pepitas seeds, for garnish, optional

For the Pumpkin-Pimento Grilled Cheese:
1 large vine tomato, sliced
1 cup Pumpkin Pimento Cheese Spread
8 pieces country white bread
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 ounces
4 slices pepper jack cheese, about 2 ounces
1/4 cup mayonnaise

For the Pumpkin-Pimento Cheese on Toast:
1 baguette or French bread, sliced
Garlic cloves, peeled
Pumpkin Pimento Cheese Spread
Chopped pimentos
Diced pickles
Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Make the Pumpkin-Pimento Cheese Spread: In the bowl of a food processor, combine pimento, pumpkin, cheddar, cream cheese, greek yogurt, mustard, salt, red chili flakes, black pepper, and pumpkin spice and mix until smooth and spreadable, about 1 minute. Set in refrigerator until ready to use. Make spread in advance and store in the refrigerator up to a week.

2. Make the Pumpkin-Pimento Mac and Cheese: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add noodles, cheese spread, half-and-half, and stir until well combined. Mix in bacon and serve right away.

3. Make the Pumpkin-Pimento Deviled Eggs: In the base of a food processor, mix egg yolks and cheese spread until very smooth. Place filling into a pastry bag or into a plastic storage bag and cut the edge to make a small tip. Fill egg whites with filling and top with pepitas, if using. Serve right away.

4. Make the Pumpkin-Pimento Grilled Cheese: Arrange tomato slices on paper towel. Preheat a flat top griddle or skillet over medium heat. Spread 1 tablespoon pimento cheese on each slice of bread. Top one side with a slice of cheddar, 1 tomato slice, and pepper jack. Top with another slice of bread.

5. Spread mayonnaise on outside of sandwich and cook, mayonnaise-side-down, on the flat top until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Spread more mayonnaise on side facing up, then flip and continue to cook until golden and cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Slice sandwiches and serve.

6. Make the Pumpkin Pimento on Toast: Toast baguette slices. Rub with garlic. Spread cheese spread on toast and top with pimento and pickles. Drizzle with olive oil. 

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