Hooray Leftovers!

I had the following items left over from cooking all of my Tgiving food: about 15 oz. of pumpkin puree, a cup or two of peeled, cubed butternut squash, and a bunch of buttermilk.  I made this recipe (with tweaks) for dinner last night and not only did it aid me in clearing out the fridge, but it was OMGawesome! (Recipe originally appeared on MarthaStewart.com)

Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne rigate (ridged), or other short pasta
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring, until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
  3. Carefully (oil is hot and will spatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried rosemary and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.

 

Now for the tweaks –

• I reduced olive oil to 1/2 Tbs. and toasted up some chopped pecans along with the rosemary.

• Instead of half and half, I used buttermilk and omitted the vinegar.

• Instead of thinning it out with pasta-cooking water, I used vegetable broth

• I had some sage leaves lying around, so I threw those in, and also added a sprinkle of nutmeg to the sauce at the end.

• While I was cooking the sauce and pasta, I roasted the butternut squash cubes along with 6 or 7 whole peeled garlic cloves (roast at 425 for about 25 minutes, tossed in olive oil and kosher salt) and mixed it in with the pasta and sauce at the very end.  I think this really took it over the top and made it a more hearty meal as well.  Highly recommended.

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