I went for an absolutely fantastic run yesterday, and just to sabotage myself I had to have something creamy and rich when I got in the door. I had purchased a can of pumpkin recently out of sheer intrigue (note: not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin) so I thought I’d throw it in. This turned out utterly delicious; it tasted similar to a very rich macaroni and cheese. You couldn’t really detect any pumpkin other than that gorgeous color.
Let’s get started; like all great things, this dish started with some bacon.
Slice it up. This dish made about 4 bowls of pasta (although if we’re being honest, with me at the table it was more like 2.5)
Get that going in a pan heated to medium until nice and browned. Once done, remove and set aside on a paper towel to drain, and pour off the majority of the bacon fat (but not all! We need it to sear the rest of our ingredients)
Ok. Next for the onion, sage, and garlic. Half an onion will do; and I’m a garlic fiend so the more the better.
Get the onion going in the pan with the bacon grease first. Medium-low should do it. Remember to season your onions with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper; this is called layering your seasoning and will result in a much tastier dish in the end.
Roughly chop about 6 leaves of sage, and dice the garlic.
When the onion is soft, toss in the garlic and sage.
It’s had enough time in the pan when it starts to smell fantastic; about 30 seconds to a minute.
Then, grab some white wine and deglaze those brown bits! I’m using a sweet German wine here, but almost anything will do.
Scrape the bottom of the pan, and let the wine simmer for about 30 seconds. Then grab your canned pumpkin and add it. I used about half of this can (or 3-4 large dollops)
Stir that around for a sec, and add another pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper. Now for the heavy cream; I added about 3/4 of this carton
Now to add back in the bacon
Here it’s still a little thick but we’ll be thinning it out with some of the starchy pasta water. It’s important right now to taste and adjust; it’s going to need a lottttttt of seasoning because pumpkin is quite bland. Keep in mind that the pasta water is slightly salty too so go easy on the salt until the finished product, but go crazy with the pepper. Then, add a couple pinches of cayenne (which I completely forgot to demonstrate) and a pinch of nutmeg, shown here:
Now for a bit of fresh parmesan reggiano. A good handful or two.
Ok! Now take your al dente pasta, and add it directly into the sauce. Try to get some of the pasta water along the way; the starch helps the sauce be more…..saucy. Yeah.
Stir together. Taste again. Adjust.
Serve with a bit more parmesan on top. Enjoy 😉