I’m sitting here in Portland, Oregon writing you this post about creamy pumpkin pasta and having a really hard time concentrating. For one thing, it’s gorgeous outside. I mean seriously lush, colorful, fresh, and beautiful. I so need to move back to the Pacific Northwest. Like, pronto! Then there’s the news that I’ve signed on to work with Fisher Nuts this year and I couldn’t be happier about it. This berry salad with lemon dressing was the beginning of my love for almonds (not to mention it’s our favorite salad recipe) and this pasta was the beginning for pecans so it’s such a great fit for me. And lastly, since I’ve already mentioned it and it’s almost dinner right now, this pasta is making me hungry!
When I found out the Alex Guarnaschelli is working with Fisher Nuts and is going to be judging the Fresh Twist Recipe Contest (see details at bottom of post) I was so excited to be a part of this awesome brand. Alex Guarnaschelli is so talented and I know some have said she’s intimidating etc, but I first made her big kid mac and cheese years ago and it’s still one of our favorites. And I actually think she would really enjoy this pasta. I tried to make something Alex worthy and I think this hits the spot.
I know that we use pumpkin in a TON of dessert recipes during the fall and winter, but I just want to remind you, it is a squash and it’s wonderful in savory dishes. Just try Cassie’s pumpkin grilled cheese, it’s delicious! The sauce comes together really easy too which is fantastic for busy school nights. Between sports, music, dance, and other activities happening during the fall and the chilly air I need something totally awesome but still ridiculously easy to whip up. Start out with toasting pine nuts and then sauteing a little garlic and onion in some melted butter.
Dump in the pumpkin puree and heat through. Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth and then quickly back into the saucepan. Start to bring the heat back up and add the heavy creamy, chicken broth to lighten things up, and parmesan cheese because cheese makes the world go round. Now just whisk it all together until smooth.
Good mercy. Just look at that. Come on Alex Guarnaschelli!!! Wouldn’t you eat that? And yes, I got a bit sucked into the pasta, but we are busy cooking up the nuts for the topping too. And it’s fantastically unexpected.
While the pasta sauce is finishing off you’ll get started on the nuts. Chop the pecans and then toast them in a skillet. Once the pecans are warm to the touch add a little butter, melt it down and quickly add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir a few times and then dump out onto a parchment paper to cool. Sprinkle the nuts on the finished pasta.
As we all know, salty and sweet are major flavor combos these days. It’s still such a thing because it just works so well, but there are a few dishes that I don’t see this pop into enough and that’s soup and pasta. Sandwiches seem to pop up like Oprah’s Favorite Grilled Cheese with that drizzle of honey, cookies have it like these salted brown butter chocolate chip cookies stuffed with dulce de leche and nutella,golden and breakfast totally has it with these apple bacon waffles, but pasta and soup get forgotten. Well I don’t forget them. Our golden loaded potato soup has a drizzle of honey that heightens the flavor to new levels and now this pasta that tastes like the definition of fall with little pops of brown sugar and salty cheese. It’s amazing and I can’t wait for you to try each of these recipes so I urge you to pin each one and let me know your favorite.
And because Fisher told me about this contest and I actually think it’s awesome and would be thrilled if one of my readers won, here’s the deets.
Consumers can enter the contest by submitting a recipe on www.myfreshtwist.com: now through 10/22
o Consumers will be able to vote for their favorite recipe from 10/22 – 11/5
o Guarnaschelli and a panel of judges will choose the grand prize winner from the top ten finalists and announce the grand prize 11/22
Grand Prize Winner:
Trip for 2 to NYC including airfare, dinner and accommodations
Meet Chef Alex Guarnaschelli
Opportunity for Chef Alex Guarnaschelli to sign a copy of her debut cookbook: Old-School Comfort Food
$100 Visa gift card
Signed copy of Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s cookbook: Old-School Comfort Food
Fisher Nut Products
Copy of Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s cookbook: Old-School Comfort Food
Is Pumpkin Good For You?
Pumpkin is loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
All of these nutrients are good for the heart.
Can Pumpkin Puree Be Frozen?
You can freeze pumpkin puree in freezer safe containers or heavy duty plastic bags.
The puree will keep for several months.
Where Do Pine Nuts Come From?
Pine nuts are harvested from pine trees.
The type of pine tree is typically Stone pine and Swiss pine.
Most pine nuts come from Europe.
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
- 8 oz or 1/2 box of Campanelle Pasta
For the Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Cloves of garlic
- 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Dry Onion
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1/4-1/3 Cup Parmesan grated
- 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- Salt to taste
For the Nuts
- 1/4 Cup Pecans chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- In a small skillet add the garlic, with peels on.
- Cook, turning occasionally until turning golden.
- Add the pine nuts and toast.
- Remove the garlic, peel and mince.
- Add the garlic to a large skillet and add the butter and onions as well as the pine nuts, cooking until the butter is melted, then add the pumpkin puree and stir to combine.
- Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Place everything back into the large skillet and add the cream, chicken broth, cheese and nutmeg.
- Whisk to combine everything and add salt to taste, ours was about 1 tablespoon kosher salt (if you use regular salt or sea salt only use about 1-2 teaspoons, tasting as you go).
- Meanwhile, add salt to a pot of water and once it reaches a boil add your pasta. Cook until al dente.
- In a small skillet, while the pasta and sauce are cooking, add the nuts and heat through.
- Add the butter and cook until melted.
- Add brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Stir a few times and spread out on parchment to cool.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and fold together, adding more salt if needed, serve with a sprinkling of nuts.