velvety pumpkin cream sauce.

this may sound like a rhetorical question, but aren’t bad days the worst? sometimes, it really does feel like the world is totally and completely against you. maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but seriously, sometimes it feels like no matter what you do, you just can’t win. i hate those days with a fiery passion. when i’m bummed out, all i want to do is curl up on the couch under a blanket, watch terrible movies, and nosh on something warm and comforting. oddly enough, it almost always does the trick.

more often than not, when i crave something warm and comforting, i turn to pasta. oh pasta, you old reliable fool, you. pasta is nearly impossible to get wrong, which is kind of perfect on a day where nothing seems to go right.

i think we can all agree that pasta and marinara sauce can be pretty damn boring, right? i mean sure, it’s delicious, but it’s so expected, so blasé.  i think if you want to shake the blues, sometimes you have to shake things up a bit. instead of drowning your pasta in watery red sauce, how about tossing it in delicious, fragrant, and wholly different pumpkin cream sauce?

did i mention the fact that this recipe is easy? and almost impossible to screw up? and goes great with a glass of white wine? a hearty pasta dish and a glass of wine are, in my opinion, a perfect remedy to an imperfect day.

pumpkin cream sauce

what you’ll do

heat a saucepan over medium heat until warm, 1-2 minutes. you’ll know it’s ready when you flick a few drops of cold water into the pan and the water sizzles and dances about. combine butter and olive oil in skillet, and when the butter is completely melted, add the onion. stirring frequently, cook the onion until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the white wine. cook until the white wine is almost completely evaporated and there’s only about a tablespoon or two remaining in the pan. this should take about 5 minutes.

in the meantime, get a large pot of water going on the stove. once the water has reached a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt, about a tablespoon or so. i know that sounds like a lot of salt, but this is the only chance you have to actually season the pasta itself, so do it. trut me, it’s not going to be too salty. toss in your pasta and cook until al dente, according to the instructions on the box. when it’s ready, reserve one cup of the pasta water, and strain the pasta in a colander. don’t rinse the pasta! please! just let it hang out in the colander.

turn the heat back down to medium and add the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt and pepper. stir until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. the mixture should look fairly thick and chunky. add the chicken stock to thin it out a bit, and stir until the pumpkin and stock are incorporated together. toss in the sage, and turn the heat down to medium-low. simmer for about 10 minutes, and then add the heavy cream and pecorino. stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is a lovely pale orange. slowly add pasta water to the sauce until a creamy consistency is achieved; you may not need to add the full cup the recipe calls for. taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if need be.

add al dente pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. top with freshly grated pecorino and a fried sage leaf, if you’re feeling fancy.


how the hell do you fry a sage leaf, you ask? great question. over medium heat, bring a few tablespoons of oil up to temperature. once hot, throw in your whole sage leaves, turn over after about 30 seconds, fry another 15-30 seconds, and remove. drain the sage on paper towels. voila! see, that was easy. and look how fancy you are now!

breaking from the norm and trying new things is definitely a healthy pursuit, and it actually helps to elevate your mood quite a bit. pumpkin cream sauce definitely sounds slightly exotic and a little luxurious, yet at the same time, homey and comforting. i suppose you could say it’s the best of both worlds, and it’s guaranteed to get you out of your bad day funk.

trust me, carbs make everything better.

velvety pumpkin cream sauce

yield: this recipe makes enough to generously sauce one pound of cooked pasta.
note: the full cup of pasta water may not be necessary to achieve a creamy consistency, but reserve the full amount just in case.

Ingredients:

what you'll need

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium vidalia onion, finely minced
1/2 cup white wine
15 ounces pumpkin puree (1 small can)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup pasta water (see note)
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese (parmigiano reggiano would be lovely as well)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

heat a saucepan over medium heat until warm, 1-2 minutes.

combine butter and olive oil in skillet, and when the butter is completely melted, add the onion.

stirring frequently, cook the onion until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes.

turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the white wine.

cook until the white wine is almost completely evaporated and there’s only about a tablespoon or two remaining in the pan, about 5 minutes.

in the meantime, get a large pot of water going on the stove. once the water has reached a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt, about a tablespoon or so.

add the pasts to the water cook until al dente, according to the instructions on the box. when it’s ready, reserve one cup of the pasta water, and strain the pasta in a colander. do not rinse the pasta.

turn the heat down to medium on the saucepan, and add the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt and pepper.

stir until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. the mixture should look fairly thick and chunky.

add the chicken stock to thin it out a bit, and stir until the pumpkin and stock are incorporated together.

add the sage, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

simmer for about 10 minutes, and then add the heavy cream and pecorino. stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is a lovely pale orange.

slowly add pasta water to the sauce until a creamy consistency is achieved; you may not need to add the full cup the recipe calls for. taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if need be.

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9 Responses to “velvety pumpkin cream sauce.”

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    1
    Leslie — November 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Can I substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock? I want to make this and not break my vegetarianism. :)

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    Erica Lea {Cooking for Seven} — November 3, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    My, that sounds yummy! I had one of those days this week. A fancy dinner would have been a plus! :D

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    3
    Katie — November 4, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Mmm that really does sound lovely! Also – it would be a great winter weather dish…if only it would get a little colder here in FL!

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    jaclyn — November 4, 2010 at 7:17 am

    @leslie-absolutely! vegetable stock is a perfectly acceptable substitution!

    @erica-thanks so much for your kind words!

    @katie-you’re right, it’s a perfect winter weather dish! luckily, this weekend the lows are going to be in the 40’s, probably the perfect time to try it out! i really hope the weather stays cold!

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    5
    small business grants — November 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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    6
    benjamin livingston — November 11, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I love this recipe. Might see if Amber would feel daring enough to give it a try.

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    jaclyn — November 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    @ben-thanks so much! it’s definitely a little different, but still very delicious! if you guys like spicier food at all, you can add some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little heat and edge. let me know if you try it out!

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    jaclyn — November 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    thank you so much! i’m trying to post 2-3 times a week now, so please keep checking back to find more scrumptious recipes! thanks for reading!

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    9
    LuvRVliving — November 25, 2010 at 10:48 am

    This sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to try it.

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