Have you ever wondered what would happen to you if you were put in a room (a Whole Foods produce section, let's say) in which winter squash was on sale for 99 cents a pound? Let me add in the fact that you have basically been winter squash-deprived for the past four months.
And you happen to have a couple of screws loose.
Okay I will tell you. You walk out of Whole Foods with 12 pounds of winter squash in your reusable Whole Foods bag and wonder what ever made you think that you would be able to carry that 12 pounds (plus your other groceries, mind you) back to your apartment. Never mind the fact that you now have 12 pounds of kabocha, spaghetti squash, red kuri squash, and of course butternut to eat. That does not phase you at all. Obviously.
So if you see a disproportionate amount of winter squash recipes on here in the next few weeks (months?/decades?/eons?) you will know why.
Another reason I am insane. I ran 17 miles this weekend (my last long run before the race!). But that is not the insane part. I ran that 17 miles with my friend Justin to keep me company. And (here comes the crazy) we ran it at an average pace of 7:58! Personally, I believe it was all of the amazing conversation that distracted me from thinking about speed. He maintains it is just that I am metamorphosing into a Kenyan as we speak. This makes qualifying for the Boston Marathon somewhat more of a reality since to do that I will need an average pace of 8:23. San Fran here I come!
I chose this recipe from a cookbook I have - The Essential Pasta Cookbook - that has been sitting on my shelf, unopened, since I purcahsed it from Borders (it was on sale for like $4). Normally I am wary of cookbooks that claim to be ultimate (sorry Tyler!), essential, or necessary. It just gives them too much to live up to. Kind of like how I probably wouldn't go to a Chinese restaurant called Best Chinese Ever. If you are the best at something, you don't need to go around proclaiming it to the world. Word will just get around. And if you feel the need to include it in your title, it probably means you are compensating for something.
However, I thought that since I already own the book, I should give it a chance. And honestly, this pasta was delicious. I have made many pumpkin sauces in my day, and this was the best I have ever had. You would swear that it has tons of cheese or cream in it and that it will clog your arteries just by looking at it. But that, thankfully, is far from the truth. If you happen to have 12 pounds of pumpkin/squash sitting around, this would be the recipe to make with it. For sure.
I am submitting this to myself for Presto Pasta Nights! Remember to send me your entries by midnight on Thursday!
Pumpkin and Pine Nut Linguine
Serves 4, adapted from The Essential Pasta Cookbook
1 lb linguine
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 lb winter squash (I used kabocha), peeled and cut into small dice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup almond milk (or regular milk or all half and half if you don't want to cut the fat)
1/4 cup pine nuts
chives, to garnish
1. Set up the water for the pasta and cook as directed on package.
2. Melt the butter in the pan. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the veggie stock and the pumpkin. Boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook until pumpkin is tender.
3. Reduce heat to low and season with nutmeg and pepper. Stir in the cream until just warmed through. Do not boil. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth.
4. Return the sauce to the pan and gently reheat. Add salt to taste. Add to the pasta and plate, topping with pine nuts, chives, and parmesan cheese.
NOTE - I also broiled a zucchini that I had sitting in the fridge and added it in at the end with the pasta. I couldn't let it go to waste!