Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Whole Wheat Pasta with Pumpkin Seed and Spinach Pesto

Pasta, Vegan

roasted-pumpkin-and-sage-whole-wheat-pasta-with-pumpkin-seed-and-spinach-pesto

Adapted from Going Veggie by Trudy Slabosz

Though it sounds like a super dense meal, surprisingly it is not. May I add that it is another great autumn recipe. I’ve always had the traditional pesto so it was interesting to try out this new combination. I loved the combination of pumpkin (kabocha squash in my case) with the pasta and pesto. Though it takes about 45-60 minutes to make, it is not a difficult recipe. Don’t be intimidated!

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoons maple syrup
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 cups spinach
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups diced kabocha squash
  • Bunch of fresh sage
  • 9 ounces (250 grams) whole wheat pasta

Directions:

  1. To make the pesto, add the pumpkin seeds to a heavy pan and dry roast over medium-low heat until they begin to crackle and pop. Remove them from the heat and drizzle the maple syrup on top along with the pepper. The maple syrup should almost candy when it hits the hot seeds. All to cool.
  2. Transfer the pumpkin seed mixture to a food processor. Add the spinach to the food processor. With the motor running, gradually add ¼ cup of olive oil until you have a loose pesto. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
  4. Throw the diced kabocha into a baking tray and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with pepper. Toss well and place in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  6. When the kabocha pieces just begin to turn golden on the edges, add the sage leaves and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the squash is soft and golden and the sage leaves are crisp.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the same heavy pan you dry roasted the pumpkin seeds in and toss over medium heat with the prepared pesto until well coated. Add the roasted kabocha and sage leaves. Toss gently to combine.

 

Comments: Alternatively, you can use regular pasta instead of whole wheat or any other kind you wish (the original recipe calls for spelt pasta). Originally, as the name suggests, the recipe is made with pumpkin but I had a kabocha squash sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be roasted so I decided to use that instead. If you wish, you can double the amount of pumpkin seeds and maple syrup and use half for the pesto and toss the rest in the final step with the pasta and pesto. I did not try it but this pasta would also probably be delicious sprinkled with some feta or goat cheese.

 

Beet Gnocchi

Pasta, Vegan

Beet Gnocchi

Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

Though I may hate on Valentine’s Day because everyone gets all smooch-y and lovey dove-y (the only guy I need in my life is my gelding), I am really a sucker for all seasonal things. I like everything orange and pumpkin for fall; I like green, red, snowflakes and reindeer for Christmas; I like pink, red, white and hearts for Valentine’s. This year’s Valentine’s Day was no exception: beet gnocchi. Yes, it may sound strange but beets are nature’s natural red dye (the original red velvet cake was made with beet juice!). These gnocchi (or ñoquis as we say in Argentina), taste just like regular potato ones. What’s special is their bright red color. I served them with cream and cheese, as we do any pasta at home, and I was very delightedly surprised to see the cream turn pink! My dad was on a business trip, so I made half the recipe for just my mom and I. Overall, we had a very pleasant, very Valentine-y dinner!

Yields 4 servings

Beet Gnocchi II

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound starchy potatoes (such as Idaho or russet)
  • ½ pound beets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

Beet Gnocchi, porción

Directions:

  1. Steam the potatoes in the microwave until tender. Split them open immediately to let the steam escape. When you can handle the potatoes, scoop out the flesh. Using a fork or masher, purée the potatoes.
  2. Peel and grate the beets. Put the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the beets, season to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the beets and potatoes into a food processor and purée until combined and very smooth. Season to taste.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  5. In the meantime, sprinkle ¼ cup flour on a clean counter and knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling the remaining ½ cup of flour until the dough just comes together.
  6. Roll a piece of dough into a ½-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into ½-inch lengths. Score each piece by rolling it along the tines of a fork. As each piece is ready, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper; don not allow the gnocchi to touch one another.
  7. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and gently stir. Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn’t boil too vigorously. A few seconds after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and serve with your favorite sauce.

 

Comments: This recipe isn’t all that hard though it does require a decent amount of hands-on time. It is typical for us in Argentina to serve pasta with cream and cheese (for me, it’s the only way to go). However, New York Times had some other suggestions for sauces: tomato sauce, brown butter, sage and Parmesan, olive oil and garlic or bacon and cream. I’ll add some trivia as well: in Argentina, we have a tradition in which we eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month; we slide a money bill under our plates and its value is supposed to multiply. Feel free to adopt this tradition! It’s great! Buon appetito!

Beet Gnocchi, porción II

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pasta, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Adapted from chocolatecoveredkatie.com

Autumn is fast approaching and we all know what that means: PUMPKIN PRODUCTS!!! I can’t express how excited I am to see Trader Joe’s fully stocked with all kinds of pumpkin goodies. As this is very much on my mind, I was sitting one day and thought, “There must be a recipe for pumpkin mac and cheese.” And I was right. This is a very easy and fast recipe; you can literally have dinner ready in about half an hour or less. Enjoy the pumpkin goodness!

Yields 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dry pasta (such as elbow macaroni, farfalle, rotini or penne)
  • 1 can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese (see below for vegan option)

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dry pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a complete boil. Lower the heat and stir until the shredded cheese is completely melted.
  3. Drain the pasta and place in a serving dish. Mix in the sauce until well combined. Serve immediately.

Comments: This recipe yields a very rich, creamy sauce. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had but it’s really good. Unfortunately, I found that the shredded Cheddar in my fridge had fungus but luckily I had Italian blend. The Italian blend has sharp cheeses (Provolone, Parmesan, Romano…) so it was good for the mac and cheese but I’ll probably use the classic Cheddar next time. If you are vegan, you can substitute the cheese for ¾ cup of nutritional yeast. I’m curious about how it will turn out but I knew my parents wouldn’t like it if I made it vegan. If you use nutritional yeast, let me know how it turns out. Instead of pasta, you can use quinoa, spaghetti squash rice or other vegetable “spaghetti.” Next time, I will use fresh pumpkin instead of the canned one; it’ll probably be even better.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, porción