I’m really trying to branch out with pumpkin this year. Apparently pumpkin is super good for you. There are countries and cuisines out there that use pumpkin on a regular basis. Most of those people have no idea what jack-o-lanterns are and have never tasted a pumpkin pie. In my experimentation I came up with this gem of a pasta. I made a simple goat cheese sauce to go over the pasta, adding spinach for color and nutrition. It’s topped with a balsamic roasted pumpkin. Oh boy, the pumpkin was transformed into something I may have never recognized as pumpkin. Roasting always brings out different flavors in vegetables and the pumpkin was no exception. It was beautifully sweet with a slight tang to it. It went quite well with the goat cheese pasta making it a beautiful, balanced, and somewhat elegant meal. Hello pumpkin, I’m we’re getting to be good friends this year!
1 sugar pumpkin (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1/4 tsp salt
1 pound penne pasta
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 cups milk
5 oz plain goat cheese
3 cups spinach leaves
1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 4 sided baking sheet with non stick spray.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds and strings using a large metal spoon. Cut off the stem. Peel the outside of the pumpkin, removing all of the outer skin. Lay the pumpkin halves flat side down on a cutting board and cut into 1 inch slices. Cut Those slices into 1 inch cubes. Lay the pumpkin cubes out on a single layer on the baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, molasses, and salt. Drizzle over the pumpkin cubes. Roast in the 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until tender.
4. Meanwhile, cook the penne pasta according to package directions.
5. Make the sauce in a large saucepan by melting the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, ground mustard, onion powder, salt, and white pepper. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often. When the sauce begins to thicken or bubble, remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese until melted.
6. Combine the strained, cooked pasta, spinach leaves, and sauce in a large pot. Stir to combine. Serve the pasta hot topped with the roasted pumpkin.