Who does that?! Who writes a recipe that calls for half of a can of pumpkin? That’s just asking for trouble; asking for a scary forgotten container of fuzzy pumpkin in the back of the refrigerator.
I would have felt a bit guilty, posting that recipe for pumpkin gingerbread that called for only half of a can of pumpkin, but I had this gem of a quick and comforting baked pasta dish that uses the remainder up my sleeve.
This is what we’re looking at today: pumpkin-coated pasta with pockets of sage caramelized onions and chevré with a crispy bread crumb and parmesan crust It takes mere minutes to assemble, it’s warm and comforting, and just feels right for a late fall dinner. And if that’s not good enough, how about this–most of its rich creaminess comes from pureed pumpkin not cream, so eating a big scoop won’t require digging out your fat pants after dinner.
Ready? Let’s make dinner. Grab that half can of pumpkin out of the fridge, a few onions, fresh sage, chèvre, parmesan, and breadcrumbs. As for the pasta? I used “pipe rigate” which are adorable, kind of chubby, bent pipes. Shells or your favorite bite-sized noodle will work just as well.
Put a pot of water on to boil, preheat your oven, and start caramelizing onions. We’re going to make this a quick caramelization job. Keep the heat almost to medium and don’t wander too far while they’re doing their thing. Add a bit of fresh sage to really bring home the fall flavors.
When the pasta is almost al dente, add the pumpkin to the onions. Splash in a ladleful of the pasta water to loosen the mixture into a saucy consistency.
Check the pasta. Ready? Perfect! Pull it out of the pot with a slotted spoon and add it to the pumpkin sauce. Stir and coat.
Now for the cheese. Scatter in pieces of goat cheese and a handful of grated parmesan. Looking good. You could stop right here…
…but we’re going to bake it with breadcrumbs and more parmesan so it gets a crispy, crunchy top. Yum.
The pasta will emerge from the oven with a crunchy, toasted top, warm and creamy interior: perfect fall comfort food. Thank goodness for those pesky recipes that leave you with a half of a can of pumpkin.
- 3 Onions, thinly sliced
- Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced Sage Leaves (rosemary would be good, too!)
- ½ # Small Pasta, such as pipe rigate, penne, orecchiette, or shells
- ¾ c. (1/2 can) Pumpkin Puree
- 2 oz. Chèvre Cheese
- ½ c. grated Parmesan, divided
- 3 Tbsp. Bread Crumbs
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
- While you wait for the water to boil, start caramelizing the onions. Heat about 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Stir often. After the onions have started to shrink down and take on a little color (about 10 minutes), add the sage and lower the heat slightly.
- At this point, your water should be boiling. Cook the pasta, according to package instructions, until al dente.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. Butter a small baking dish.
- Back to the onions--as your pasta nears finishing, the onions should be golden and sweet. Add the pumpkin puree to the onions. Add a ¼-1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water to loosen the pumpkin and help it form a sauce. Taste, season.
- When the pasta is al dente, pull it from the water with a slotted spoon and add it to the pumpkin and onion mixture. Stir until the pasta is well coated. Sprinkle in ¼ c. parmesan. Break the chèvre into a few clumps and stir it into the pasta until melted. Taste again. Season with lots of coarse black pepper and salt, if needed.
- Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish. Top with the breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan. Bake until the top is golden and crispy, about 25 minutes.