A Publication of WTVP

While we’re all quite used to having pumpkin in sweet desserts, it’s equally great in savory dishes. In this recipe, pumpkin puree is seasoned with sage and shallots to become part of a creamy and savory sauce that makes for a hearty, fall pasta dish.

Pasta in a Pumpkin-Sage Sauce with Toasted Nuts
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or chestnuts)
1 tsp butter
Pinch of salt
1 tbs olive oil
3-4 oz shallots, minced (about 2 tbs)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tbs chopped fresh sage
2 tbs butter
8 oz papardelle pasta, fettuccine or rigatoni

In a large stockpot, bring water to boil for the pasta. Once it’s boiling, add pasta and cook according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a 2-3 quart saucepan, melt the teaspoon of butter and add nuts to toast, seasoning with a pinch of salt. Watch closely so the nuts do not burn. When brown, use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to remove the nuts from the butter. Add the olive oil and then the shallot and garlic, cooking until slightly translucent, but not brown. Add the vermouth or wine to deglaze the pan, then whisk in the pumpkin puree. Once the pumpkin is warmed through, whisk in the half and half, taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the nutmeg and sage. Turn heat down to medium-low and cover, letting it simmer until the pasta is done. When it is done, remove the lid from the pumpkin sauce and stir in the butter until melted. Then toss the drained pasta in the sauce. Plate and garnish with the toasted nuts and additional fresh sage leaves.

Serves four as a hearty main dish and serves up to eight as a side dish.

Mushrooms and barley are the perfect match for a hearty, quick week-night dinner. To really bring out the mushroom flavor, consider making a small investment in a package of dried mushrooms-and since you only use a few at a time, they’re a nice pantry staple. Just a few soaked in hot water or added to the broth in this risotto add a great depth of flavor. If you’d like to top the risotto with leftover beef, use beef broth/stock. If you’d like to add shrimp or chicken, use chicken broth/stock.

Risotto with Mushrooms, Green Onion and Barley
2 cups chicken stock*
5-6 dried mushrooms (optional)
1-2 tsp. olive oil
6-8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup quick-cooking barley
1 bunch of green onions, best parts sliced
1 tbs. butter
Grated parmesan to taste and thicken

*You can use beef, mushroom or vegetable stock instead. Low-sodium varieties work best.

Heat stock/broth to a simmer and add the dried mushrooms if you’re using them (this will reconstitute the mushrooms and steep their flavor into the stock). Meanwhile, sauté the sliced mushrooms in the olive oil until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the barley and toss to coat and toast. Gradually add the warmed stock to the risotto, stirring and simmering until absorbed, then adding more. When you’re just about done with stock, remove the dried mushrooms, slice and add to the risotto along with the green onions. To finish, stir in the butter and parmesan to taste-the goal is to add creaminess, thicken the risotto and add flavor. a&s