Pumpkin is so tasty in desserts like pumpkin pie or cupcakes, but I always like to use it in something more unexpected and savory. Lately I've been on a pasta kick - maybe because I've been working at an Italian restaurant, or maybe because Wegmans is all decked out in Italian colors. (By the way, Wegmans, none of us understand the deal with all the Italian spirit lately. But we like the pasta.) So here's my latest kitchen experiment, an earthy pasta sauce that was a perfect warm accompaniment to the first snowfall of the season.
Riccioli with Pumpkin Sauce
1 shallot, minced
15 oz. pumpkin puree (or 1 can)
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 beer (I was drinking Sam Adams Oktoberfest, which seems seasonally appropriate)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/8 cup grated parmesan
fresh sage leaves, cut into little strips
.75 lb riccioli (spiral noodles)
Heat a little oil in a saucepan. Throw in the shallot and sautee for a few minutes. Add the pumpkin, chicken broth and cream cheese, stir until the cream cheese melts in. Bring to a simmer and pour in some beer. Add the mustard powder and simmer the sauce until it thickens.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, then drain. Add the parmesan to the sauce and stir until it melts. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the noodles.
To serve, spoon the pasta onto plates and top with more grated parmesan and some fresh sage.