Hi friends. How are you holding up this week of this year? I mean… what a question. I’m staying steady these days. Minding my own business until I need to not.
Because I’m basically wrapping myself in pumpkin this month (yes, I’ve already roasted my decorative Halloween gourds) I found myself with two open half-cans of pumpkin puree in the refrigerator and a hankering for dinner, not dessert.
It turns out that pumpkin puree makes a very fine replacement to tomatoes for a pasta marinara sauce. And honestly, aside from chopping garlic, this sauce is just about as easy as opening a can of jarred pasta sauce. There are so many adaptations and substitutions possible in this recipe, it’s meant to feel good to you and be enjoyed on the couch with your feet kicked up like it’s a regular ol’ Friday not in 2020.
Take good care of yourself this weekend. Let there be plenty of pasta.
Here’s what you’ll need for the most comforting pumpkin pasta dinner:
• garlic and olive oil, a fine base for flavor.
• pumpkin puree, canned or homemade.
• chopped fresh herbs. I used sage and thyme, though oregano would also be delicious.
• spices like ground coriander, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of nutmeg. Warming and grounding spices to accent the sweetness of pumpkin. You can add more spice to taste, of course.
• chicken or vegetable stock to thin the sauce and simmer.
• boiled pasta. I used linguini but whatever you like is what you should use!
• toppings like browned Italian sausage, crumbled goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, and fresh parsley really fill out the bowl but feel free to use absolutely any variation of meat (or meat alternative), cheese, and nut crunch you have on hand.
In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium-low heat.
Add the garlic and cook gently until softened – 5 minutes or so.
Add the pumpkin puree and fresh herbs. Stir until warmed through and fragrant.
Add the spices and stock.
Stir and simmer until the sauce feels like a good pasta consistency.
See? Just about as simple as opening a jar of tomato sauce, don’t you think?
Add you al denta pasta and toss until evenly coated. Add a splash more broth if you think you need it.
Top with well-browned sausage, goat cheese crumbles, pine nuts and parsley. Of course you can also swirl all of the toppings into the pasta.
It’s generous in its comfort. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
Photos with the delightful Jon Melendez.Print
A fall alternative to tomato marinara sauce. Flavored with earthy sage and thyme and topped with any kind of sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese (or parmesan would be delicious), and toasted pine nuts (though hazelnuts would be delicious too!).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 15-ounce can pumpkin puree or a scant 2 cups of pumpkin puree
- A few fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- A good pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2–2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with 1 pound al dente linguini pasta, or any cooked pasta you like
- Well-browned ground Italian sausage
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Toasted pine nuts
- Red pepper flakes
- To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and chopped herbs.
- Increase heat to medium and add all of the spices. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to your desired sauce consistency. Add more stock as you see fit. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and even more spices) to your taste.
- Toss boiled pasta in the warm sauce. To serve, top with sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese crumbled (or parmesan), toasted pine nuts (or any kind of crunch) and chopped parsley.