My favorite way to eat pumpkin will always be in the form of some sweet treat such as pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake (yum!), pumpkin ice cream (double yum!) and even pumpkin smoothies. Every once in a while, though, it's nice to venture on the savory side with pumpkin, but up until now, I've only ventured that way while dining out--not at home. So after getting a large Long Island pumpkin and a bunch of fresh sage in our organic co-op recently, I decided to try to make a pumpkin cream sauce with sage to serve with pasta.
There are many recipes out there for pumpkin cream sauce, of which the base ingredients are always pumpkin and cream with some variation of additional savory ingredients. I came up with this recipe that I think emphasizes the pumpkin and uses just a bit of half and half to make the sauce creamy. I also added a little bit of crispy prosciutto to each serving, which added more depth of flavor to the dish. It can certainly be omitted for a vegetarian version. I'm happy with the way this recipe turned out and hope you give it a try sometime. I'd love to hear from you if you do!
Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce with Sage and Prosciutto
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1/4 cup half and half
1 tablespoon butter
fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into small pieces
1/2 lb. dried pasta, cooked al dente
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and four or five thinly sliced sage leaves, cooking until the onion begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
Tip: Add the sage sparingly at first, tasting the sauce as it cooks and adding more sage to suit your taste.
3. Lower the heat to medium low and add the pumpkin puree, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper and cook until hot.
Tip: Fresh pumpkin puree is best for this dish, but if you use canned pumpkin you may need to thin it with some water or broth to get the proper sauce consistency.
4. While the pumpkin sauce is cooking, heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a small skillet until hot. Add the cut up prosciutto and cook until crispy. Remove from heat and keep warm until serving.
5. Add the half and half and stir until heated through. If the sauce is too thick, it may be thinned with chicken broth or water.
6. When the pasta is ready, remove the pumpkin cream sauce from heat and add the butter, stirring until melted. Add minced fresh sage leaves and check for seasoning.
7. Toss sauce with hot pasta, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese, crispy prosciutto and additional sage leaves, if desired. Best served immediately while hot!
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