‘Tis officially that time of year again. The time when we all turn into cinnamon-crazed pumpkin monsters and the people at Libby’s must begin each day jumping for joy.
This year I have a clear goal: Make sure pumpkin doesn’t get boring.
While I’m someone who loves pumpkin to pieces and happily eats it all year round, I know that many people are completely over pumpkin by November. Well this year I’m going to do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen. After all, what kind of Drama Queen would I be if I allowed things to get boring?
So my first tip for maintaining excitement in your pumpkin-covered kitchen is:
Don’t Forget that Pumpkin can be Savory
Sure, cookies and cupcakes and cheesecakes and pies are all great, but don’t forget that pumpkin pairs wonderfully with spinach, cheese and a variety of herbs. I love pumpkin stuffed in crepes, simply roasted as a side dish, in veggie burgers, in soups, in frittatas and, of course, with pasta!
Since it’s so creamy, pumpkin an ideal ‘fat substitute’. Add in some evaporated milk and a few extra things for flavor, and you’ve got a healthy Alfredo sauce!
Before I write another word, I have to stress one point: Evaporated milk is not the same as condensed milk!
If you use condensed milk, you will end up with a total disaster. Why?
- Evaporated milk is just milk that’s had some of the water removed (it’s literally like putting milk on the stove for a while – the water ‘evaporates’ away and you’re left with a thicker liquid)
- Condensed milk has a ton of sugar added
So unless you’re looking for an intensely sweet pasta, do not use condensed milk. Are we all clear? Good.
I like to keep this simple and stick to adding one shallot and some parmesan cheese. If you’d prefer something a little punchier, add in some garlic, herbs (thyme or sage would be great!) or another shallot.
While I used canned pumpkin (due to laziness), if you’ve got some fresh pumpkin puree on hand, please use it! Especially if you roast the pumpkin first, and then puree it. Mmmm…. then you’ll be in healthy-and-non-cancer-causing flavor country.
For this dish I used gluten-free fettuccine, but just use whatever you’ve got on hand. This is a very friendly dish. 🙂
Can you believe how close to October we are now!? Before you know it we’ll be thinking about Halloween candies – or, alternatively, the best way to pretend you’re not home.
I, for one, am seriously looking forward to months of totally-not-boring pumpkin dishes!
P.S. I realize this isn’t a breakfast recipe, but I was asked for the recipe on Instagram and I aim to please!
- 4 oz. (115g) spaghetti or fettuccine
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup (low-fat) evaporated milk
- 2 - 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Chopped parsley or chives, to garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted water until just al dente (generally, a minute or two less than the packet instructions). Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat a skillet over low heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the chopped shallot and pinch of salt. Sauté the shallot for 2 - 3 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the pumpkin puree and evaporated milk. Turn up the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should start to thicken.
- Add the parmesan cheese, and cook for another 2 - 5 minutes, or until thickened to your desired consistency. Stir often to prevent sticking, and adjust the stove heat as necessary. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of water or more evaporated milk.
- Transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet, and carefully stir it through the sauce. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide between two bowls, garnish with some chopped parley or chives, and enjoy!