Even though it feels like July here in the Midwest, it is in fact pumpkin season! Its the time of the year when those orange balls are everywhere and the can of Libby are flying off the shelves.
But you do not need to buy a can of pumpkin – roast your own! Its so easy and one good sized “pie” pumpkin will make 2-3 recipes to fulfill all your pumpkin desires. You know… like this and this and THIS.
First, wash and dry the outside of the pumpkin well. Cut the top off where the stem is and using a good, big sharp knife, cut straight down the middle. Clean out all the innards (save those pumpkin seeds!). I then placed mine flesh side down in a roasting pan that has about 1 inch of water in the bottom.
Roast at 400 degrees for 30–45 minutes until the flesh is soft and the skin easily peels away from the flesh. Place the chunks of flesh in a food processor or good blender and whirl away until nice and creamy. You may need to add just a bit of water, but usually you don’t have to.
Its as simple as that!
From there you can make a delicious line up of great recipes.
I dared to try something savory with the pumpkin and I can’t believe how well it turned out. My kids thought they were eating a cross between a super creamy mac and cheese that would rival the boxed kind any day and a nice fettuccine Alfredo. This pumpkin cream sauce turned out cheesy and creamy with a touch of sweetness. It was so delicious!
For an extra treat, I added some goat cheese to it which was a wonderful compliment to the flavor, but to make this fully vegan, it was just fine without it.
Recipe~Baked Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
by Tammy Boyd
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup non dairy creamer
3/4 almond milk, divided – or other nondairy milk
1 cup pumpkin puree – fresh or canned
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 box whole wheat pasta – fusilli or penne
2-3 tablespoons reserved pasta water
1/4 – 1/2 cup panko break crumbs
2 tablespoons EVOO
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Begin cooking pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, melt the Earth Balance butter and whisk in flour. Cook for about 2 minutes and whisk in the nondairy creamer along with 1/2 cup of the almond milk. Whisk constantly until thick. Add pumpkin puree, salt, red pepper, ground pepper, nutmeg and garlic. Whisk all together until well combined. When pasta is finished cooking, drain, reserving a bit of the cooking liquid. Add cream sauce to pasta and mix well. If it seems too dry add 2-3 tablespoons pasta water. At this point, if you are a baked mac & cheese kind, soprinkle with panko bread crumbs, drizzle with olive oil, dot with goat cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. If you are a creamy pasta kind, there is no need to bake. After mixing sauce and pasta, serve immediately. Keep it vegan by eliminating the goat cheese.
This dish is perfect with a side of tangy sauteed greens!