When I was little, my parents always used to refer to broccoli as trees. We mostly had it whenever we got Chinese take-out and they would insist that we eat the trunks as well as the leaves. Rachael Ray refers to it as trees as well and so, since this is in fact her recipe, I decided to pay a little homage to her cute-sy names by throwing some in. Plus I have this obsession with adding broccoli to creamy pasta dishes. It's an addiction, but what am I going to do - there are worse things in the world.
Can you believe that I didn't have any pasta while on the cruise? And it's not like I didn't want it - there just wasn't any to be had. All of the entrees seemed very South Beach-esque to my carb-loving soul. When we got back, my roommate asked me what I was making for dinner this week - as if she even needed to! I was going through withdrawals and needed some pasta immediately. I was also craving some kind of orange veggie - think squash or sweet potatoes - and came across this Rachael Ray recipe for pasta with pumpkin sauce. I was actually first drawn in by Rachael Ray's recipes about a year ago when I came across her interesting uses for butternut squash and pumpkins. I have also made her pumpkin pasta with sausage and butternut mac'n'cheese, both of which I really enjoyed. I happened to like this version of the pumpkin sauce better, however, probably because it includes cinnamon and some tabasco (I omitted the nutmeg). Even if you are not a pumpkin lover, you should give this sauce a try. It's very creamy, kind of like an alfredo of sorts.
I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by the event's creator - Ruth of Once Upon a Feast!
Penne-wise Pumpkin Pasta (With Trees)
Serves 4, adapted from Rachael Ray
1 can pumpkin (I used Trader Joe's canned butternut squash)
1 lb whole wheat penne
1 tsp tabasco
1 tbsp EVOO
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 lb broccoli florets
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper, to taste
8 sage leaves, torn
Bring a pot of water to a boil and start to cook the pasta. Drain when done.
Microwave the broccoli for 5 minutes or steam it.
In a pan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic (chopped) and saute for 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, chicken broth, and half and half, as well as the cinnamon and tabasco. Boil and then simmer until thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as sage. Mix the pasta with the broccoli and sauce. Top with some parmesan cheese.