Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's The Great Pumpkin

It's that wonderful window of the year where it is acceptable, even encouraged, to cook with pumpkin.

I have a few favorites that I made this week: Pumpkin Pasta and Pumpkin Muffins.

This pumpkin pasta is from Everyday with Rachael Ray. It's called Penne-Wise Pumpkin Pasta. It's called that because it's supposed to be cheap to make. But then I went and added grilled shrimp, so it's not cheap, but it's delicious! The pumpkin sauce is really easy to make, and then I add a few grilled shrimp and fresh sage to finish it off. Yum!
1 pound whole wheat penne rigate
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg Pepper
7 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to pass around the table

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
2. While the pasta is working, in a medium skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin and cream. Add the hot sauce, cinnamon and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sage.
3. Toss the pasta with the sauce and pass the parmigiano-reggiano around the table.

If you buy a big can of pumpkin, you'll only use half for the pasta. Then you can use the other half to make these delicious pumpkin muffins. They are also super easy to make. I'm not the best at baking, but these came out beautifully. They are from Cooking Light, so that means you can have like 3 at a time. :-)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in raisins; make a well in center of mixture.
3. Combine brown sugar, canned pumpkin, buttermilk, canola oil, molasses, vanilla extract, and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
4. Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

And to end the post, here is the REAL pumpkin muffin at our house. Here he is in his Halloween costume from last year.

"Pumpkin muffins? Where? I want some."


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