Pumpkin Munchin’

It wouldn’t be Pumpkin Week without being able to actually eat some pumpkin.  With 6 pumpkins to work with, I’ve had plenty to go around so I have two recipes for you today.

First up is penne with a creamy pumpkin sauce.  I will admit openly that I took this recipe from Martha Stewart’s site.  I’ve never tried to make pumpkin sauce before; it was nice to have something to reference.  Martha’s recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree, but since I had 6 sitting around I decided to make my own puree.  Of course, I failed to take pictures of this process, but it’s fairly simple.

Pumpkin Puree
1. Remove tip of pumpkin, and cut pumpkin in half.
2. Scoop out seeds (and set aside to roast later!)
3.  Place the pumpkin halves on a covered baking sheet.  (I prefer tin foil, but it could be wax or parchment paper as well.)
4. Cover with foil, and bake in the oven at 350 for about  1 1/2 hours.
5. Let them cool, then peel off skin.
6. Place in food processor or blender, and puree until smooth.

I had significantly more puree than what Martha’s recipe called for, so I put the remainder in the freezer for safe keeping until I have time to make some pumpkin pie.

Now that my puree was ready, I moved on to making the actual meal.  For those you who don’t want to click the link, here’s the recipe.  Oh, and the gluten-free pasta is my addition.  I’m sure it will work just as well with plain old penne.

Penne Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (gluten-free) penne regate, or other short pasta
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)

Directions 

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring, until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
  3. Carefully (oil is hot and will spatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried rosemary and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.

Now, about those seeds we’ve set aside.  Everyone knows you can roast pumpkin seeds with a little butter and salt and they will come out yummy.  I, however, don’t particularly enjoy making the same bar-worthy snack year after year, and I’ve had a bit of a sweet tooth lately, so I decided to try something a little different.  I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to roast the pumpkin seeds in the same mixture of spices I use for pumpkin pie.  They turned out more delicious than I thought they would.  Crunchy, sweet, with just a hint of salt, and they smelled delicious while they were roasting.

Cinnamon Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 

Ingredients 

  • 2 Cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I always use splenda baking blend, but not everyone likes that)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions 

  1. Wash pumpkin seeds, removing as much pumpkin pulp as possible, and set aside to dry.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Mix cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and salt together in large bowl.
  3. Mix butter, melted, into spices and stir until well mixed.
  4. Toss pumpkin seeds in mixture, spread onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Flip seeds, bake for another  25 minutes.
  6. Take out, allow to cool, and enjoy!

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