Now that I’m officially done with school (recently received my LCSW license and oh-so-close to hearing about my Behavior Analyst credentials), and the wedding is behind us, I feel like I have a bit of myself back. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the work that was required to succeed, and our wedding was everything I wanted it to be and more. But there’s something about a weekend with no plans that allows you to put yourself first, even if it’s just that extra pastry from the bakery, or a quick mani/pedi before grocery shopping.
How have I been putting myself first? Shopping, mostly. But in an effort to put my bank account first (for once), I’ve recently let cooking be the thing that makes me feel at peace. And now that fall is here, is there anything more peaceful than the orange glow of pumpkin?
This brown butter pumpkin pasta is inspired by Food and Wine . Though I did make pumpkin cookies last weekend, I much prefer to cook in the savory. Is it a coincidence that both the cookies and this pumpkin pasta had brown butter inside?
Heck no. Brown butter is anything but a coincidence, especially twice in one weekend. It’s a purposeful, beautiful act that takes your palate further than you thought it could go.
I swapped the hazelnuts with pine nuts, mascarpone with ricotta, and added brown butter to the pumpkin sauce. This pumpkin pasta is rich, and we found 2 servings were plenty with a side of soup, but feel free to double as needed.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts
by Every Little Thing
Keywords: saute blender vegetarian Italian fall
Ingredients (serves 2)
Preheat oven to 350° (toaster oven works well too). Spread the pine nuts onto a pan and toast for approximately 5 minutes, until golden brown (they burn quickly so keep an eye on them). Let cool.
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling, well-salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the pasta pot. Add the onion, garlic, and sage and cook over medium heat until soft, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to food processor or blender, add pumpkin, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
In the pasta pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Cook butter until fat separates and the butter turns brown and releases a nutty smell, approximately 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully as, once brown, the butter will burn quickly. Immediately add the butter to the food processor or blender (scraping brown bits with it) and process until smooth.
Scrape the pumpkin mixture into the pot and cook over low heat until warm. Mix in the ricotta, then add the pasta and reserved cooking water. Toss to coat and warm until heated through. Season again with salt and pepper, then transfer to bowls and serve tossed with toasted pine nuts.
By the time I took the photos, the sauce had thickened quite a bit. When you first toss the pasta though, this sauce is pure velvet, clinging to each bit of pasta without letting go. As I mentioned above, the sauce is rich – the brown butter glistens through the buttery squash with just enough fervor that you’ll decide it was worth the extra minutes and calories.
And toasted pine nuts? I had no idea how their flavor deepened after a few minutes in the oven. Their earthiness is exposed and shines through, emulating the squash in the sauce while providing a much needed crunch amid the rich pasta. Don’t skip this step!
This pumpkin pasta will treat you right. This weekend, take a second amid the chaos and put yourself first. Toast a few pine nuts. Brown a couple tablespoons of butter. Roast a pumpkin (or open a can, as I did). And toss.