Invented by yours truly. It’s rare that I actually make up my own dishes from scratch. Usually I tweak and add my own flair to things, but this, this is pretty much the product of a lot of foodie thinking. This is what happens when I meditate on a few ingredients and acquire inspiration throughout my days working at a grocery store and going out to dinner every now and then. I am so, so proud of this dish, I cannot lie. It turned out INCREDIBLE. I had so many ideas and ingredients I wanted to incorporate into creating a creamy pumpkin pasta dish and this was the final product:
(Pre-panko bread crumb broilage…)
How it turned out after put under the broiler a few seconds too long…
Yeah, so basically this is my dream dish come true. Freshly roasted pumpkin, orecchiette, sage, thyme, truffle oil, creamy comforting yumminess in a single-serve dish. The idea was inspired mainly from a dish that I always order at a local restaurant, a version of mac n’ cheese made with truffle oil and some amazing smoked gouda cream sauce. And I wanted to be able to make it on my own, but take it to the next level. And that’s exactly what I did. I also have to thank Country Living’s Pumpkin-Sage Cream Sauce for inspiration otherwise it wouldn’t have been the same…
(Serves 1-2 people in a single-serve dish, or you can save for leftovers, or divide it up however the heck you’d like)
Roasting the Pumpkin:
-1/2 sugar pie pumpkin, deseeded, skin peeled, and cubed into 1/2″ inch pieces
-1 teaspoon walnut or olive oil
-salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cube the sugar pie pumpkin and toss with the oil and a bit of salt to your liking. Place squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, until somewhat browned and crispy, or until you’re able to pierce squash easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, make the sauce, and fill a medium sized pot with enough water to boil the amount of pasta you want to use (I used about 1/2 box of orecchiette) and put on “high” on the stove.
Pumpkin-Sage Truffle Cream Sauce:
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-1/4 cup freshly grated grana padano Parmesan cheese (this stuff is BOMB, my new favorite Italian cheese, discovered thanks to an evening dining at Greens Restaurant in SF)
-1/2 cup any other cheese(s) that suits your fancy (I used a mix of smoked gouda, sharp white coastal cheddar, and a semi-firm goat cheese)
-16 sage leaves, sliced into thin strips
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
-1 tablespoon truffle oil
Combine the cream, pumpkin puree, Parmesan, other cheeses, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in truffle oil. Set aside until pasta is cooked.
Cooking the Pasta:
Once your pasta water is boiling and ready to go, add the orecchiette and a pinch of salt and boil according to directions (usually about 12 minutes, until al dente).
Putting it All Together:
Use any kind of oven-proof dish that you’d like (mine was ceramic and about 5×5 or something like that), place as much pasta and some roasted pumpkin that will comfortably fit into the dish and toss, and pour the pumpkin-sage sauce over that. I also added a little fresh thyme to mine as well, for some extra flavor. Now you could leave it at that and place it under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes to get a little crispy, or you can sprinkle some panko bread crumbs on top for an extra crunch, if you’d like. Just be careful and don’t do what I did, which was putting it under the broiler for more than 1 minute because I smoked up the whole house and the fire alarm went off. I’ll never do that again!
Take it out when it’s ready and hot and prepare for your eyes to roll to the back of your head.
(Feedback is very much appreciated…)