Friday, November 20, 2009

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Tonight's dinner was inspired by posts like this from Cara's Cravings and this from Proceed With Caution. I made a few substitutions based on what I had in the fridge; my version follows below. While it could have been lower in fat (check the links for how!), I doubt it could have been tastier. The H said it smelled like pumpkin pie, which you may know by now I don't care for. This dish was well-received by nearly* the entire household, however. It was creamy, warm, and very filling, not to mention festively colored. The kale lends a good bite to an otherwise-soft meal. Adding a good dose of fresh ground black pepper at the end helped keep it from being too pie-like.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
Makes 4 servings

8 oz short pasta shape (Trader Joe's brown rice fusilli)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried rubbed sage
3 links chicken sausage (Trader Joe's sweet apple chicken sausage)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Stoneyfield Farm organic whole-milk)
1 cup pumpkin puree (Trader Joe's organic)
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp low-fat Neufchatel cheese (like I said--what I had in the fridge!)
Sea salt
Black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
1 medium bunch kale, tough stalks removed

1. Salt a large pot of water for the pasta and turn it on med-high heat.

2. Lightly steam the kale (I did this in a covered skillet) for several minutes until wilted but not discolored. Meanwhile...

3. Heat olive oil in large skillet over med-low heat. Add the sliced onions and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the minced garlic, rubbed sage, and sliced chicken sausage.

4. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions (be careful not to overcook or the whole thing will turn out too mushy).

5. In a blender, combine pumpkin, yogurt, cream cheese, and milk. Blend until smooth. Pour into pan with sausage-onion mixture and continue cooking over low heat. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg.

6. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot. Gently stir in the sausage-onion-sauce mixture and the steamed kale; mix well.

We paired this with a semi-dry local(ish) white wine. A drier choice would have been better. As always, I do not claim to be a food photographer. Consider yourself lucky that I chose to post this picture rather than the ones that showed up Crayola-orange.

* My son actually refused to swallow a bite until we let him dip each piece of pasta into his blueberry applesauce first. After dinner he looked like this (and then promptly got a bath):

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