Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Penne

It's almost time to pick Danny up at school. Tonight, we have a parent/teacher interview with his teacher just before dinner, so I am preparing what I can now so when we get back, it will be a short wait to get to the table. I have the salad made, the table set and all my ingredients out and ready to go.

You may recall in the last post that I made pumpkin puree out of our Jack-o-lanterns. Tonight we are including that in dinner. I had 3 carved pumpkins this year, (two were quite small) which gave me about 3 1/2 cups of puree. What I don't use tonight, I will place in freezer bags and freeze them for a later purpose. Lay them flat in the freezer so they will thaw faster later.

My shortcut tip for today is about bacon - and who doesn't love bacon. I started doing this at Christmas time, because our tradition is that everyone comes to our house for brunch on Christmas Morning. I would precook the bacon a few days before and place in the fridge. I reheat it in the microwave for brunch. Now, I can take it a little bit further and put it in the freezer. I placed pieces of wax paper between each layer (about 6 pieces) of bacon. This is along the same lines as the precooked bacon you can buy in the store, but at a fraction of the price. With my container of cooked bacon in the freezer, I can take out what I need for a recipe or a quick breakfast. Just reheat it in the microwave for about 1 minutes. (Depends on the microwave)

So, what's for dinner?

Tonight's dinner is brought to us by Rachael Ray can be found in her Yum-O Cookbook and

Penne-Wise Pumpkin Pasta

1 pound whole-wheat penne
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated
2 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
2 pinches ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper
7 to 8 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced plus more, for garnish
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat water for pasta, salt it and cook penne to al dente.
Heat the oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to the pan, saute 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and combine with pumpkin, stir in cream then season sauce with hot sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 to 6 minutes more to thicken. Stir in sage, toss with pasta with grated cheese, to taste.

As a note, when using the fresh pumpkin puree, you may require less chicken stock. The fresh stuff has a lot more liquid in it.

This is the first time I'm attempting this, but expect great things. But what will make it so great? Why not sprinkle some of that chopped bacon on the top? Now that's YUM-O.

Pumpkin Pasta: It's easy, delicious and inexpensive. It's a dinner trifecta!

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