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I’m eating this pasta as I type. I refrained from eating more than a bite or two while I was photographing so I could save it for dinner. It’s creamy, has a hint of spice, and it tastes like fall. It feels like the kind of food that should be enjoyed on a cold night with loved ones at your table… Lost in thought, I was envisioning my next dinner party when an errant noodle flung pasta sauce on to the floor. Distraction over.
It’s pumpkin season and I’m so glad. I love all that there is to do with pumpkins (like I talked about in my Ten Ways to Use Pumpkins post from the other day). They’re versatile and yummy.
For this recipe I roasted the pumpkin almost whole so that I could serve the pasta in it. It’s as simple as a little olive oil on the inside, flip it upside down, and roast for about an hour. I wanted to save some of the roasted pumpkin for a few other dishes, but if you wanted to use it all, you could totally do that.
Pumpkin isn’t the only option. If you’ve got other varieties of winter squash they’d be great too. I might avoid the spaghetti squashes (and those like them), but other than that, whatever you’ve got on hand should be great.
Pumpkin (or winter squash) and browned butter are good friends. As they should be. You can use butter or not, olive oil is a great option as well. Equal parts butter/olive oil and all purpose flour work together to make a nice roux. Or, if you want to skip it all together (and for a gluten-free option), milk and cornstarch will thicken up nicely.
The pumpkin, milk, and thickener heat slowly on the stove until they’re nice and thick. Then cheese and some seasonings are added and everyone gets blended together until you’ve got a nice smooth sauce.
Whatever pasta you prefer will work perfectly. I made some fresh pasta today, cut in a fettuccine (ish) width, so that’s what I wanted to use. But, elbows, spaghetti, or fusilli would be great too. I opted for a creamy sauce without any add ins or toppings. Sometimes I just don’t want anything extra. But, next time I think I’m gonna try it with some mushrooms, greens, and sage… or maybe corn, crispy shallots, and bacon.
- 1 small pumpkin or small to medium winter squash (any except spaghetti squash) (about 2-3 C cooked) (could also use roasted or steamed carrots or cauliflower)
- 1 t olive oil
- 1/4 C butter or olive oil (optional)
- 1/4 C all purpose flour or 1 T cornstarch
- 2 C milk (any kind)
- 1/2 C plain yogurt
- pinch cayenne
- to taste salt
- good pinch coriander
- good pinch ginger
- 1 C cheese (Parmesan, cheddar, or Gruyère), grated
- (could also mix in: 2-4 cloves roasted garlic, sautéed mushrooms, greens, sage, onion, leek, shallot, corn, lemon zest)
- 6 servings pasta
- toppings optional: fresh herbs, chopped; poached eggs, bacon, or nuts
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cut the lid off the pumpkin (if you're going to serve in it, if not you could just slice in half), scrape out seeds. Rub the inside with 1 t olive oil. Roast for about 1 hour.
- Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Add butter, if using. When it starts to brown, whisk in flour. Cook for 30-60 seconds. If doing gluten-free, skip the butter and flour and whisk milk with cornstarch. Pour in milk (with or without the cornstarch), whisking as you do. Add pumpkin. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until thickened (it should coat a spoon without all running off), stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Season with cayenne through ginger. Stir in cheese. Blend with a hand blender (or in batches in a regular blender with the center plug removed and the hole covered with a clean tea towel) until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Stir in any additional mix ins.
- Cook pasta. Drain and toss with sauce. Serve topped with desired toppings, or just serve as it is.
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