Monday, January 18, 2010

Amazingly Creamy Pumpkin Penne

As you may have heard around Thanksgiving 2009 there was a shortage of canned pumpkin due to moldy crop loss.  I didn't really think it was a big deal and found pumpkin when I needed it for my dishes...except for the one week where I SPECIFICALLY planned TWO meals that needed it.  Chris and I searched high and we searched low on the shelves of our local Kroger but there was absolutely NO PUMPKIN to be found!  I considered making my own pumpkin puree from a whole pumpkin but alas, there was no real pumpkin in January, either.

My Nest Message Board ladies suggested various places where I could look.  Some of them even offered to let me have a can from their stockpile (they were smart and stocked up!)...bless them and their kind hearts!  But it was the week of the dreaded snow storm and I did not want to deal with the crazies at the groceries and I didn't really want to take a can from someone unless I really needed to.  So, the pumpkin recipes were put on hold.

Thankfully the following week I found canned the same Kroger that during the previous week had none.  I bought myself a couple cans...just in case.  I must say that it really is still hit or miss with the pumpkin at that store because when I went out today there was none...again.  So, if you haven't already and you want to use pumpkin for the rest of the year, you may just want to stock up when you can find some!

Anyway, I had this recipe bookmarked forever and it kept showing up in lots of blogs that I follow.  I used shrimp instead of sausage because that's what I had onhand.  The use of cottage cheese is clever and I like the creaminess it lends while still being low fat.  I just might need to try using it in other cream sauces.  The flavor of the sauce itself was not bad, but just not really Chris and my taste.  It's healthy, for if you think it might be your thing, definitely give it a try as most people give it rave reviews.

Look for the other pumpkin recipe, coming soon!

Amazingly Creamy Pumpkin Penne
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  • 4 oz penne pasta (used rotini)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • about 2T chopped fresh sage
  • 2 links cooked chicken sausage, sliced (used shrimp cocktail with tails removed)
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 5oz torn spinach, thick stems removed (used some frozen spinach)
  • grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  4. Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Note: Since I used shrimp instead of sausage, I added the shrimp at the very end since it was already fully cooked.  I just wanted to heat it and avoid overcooking.

Source: Cara's Cravings

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