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Dreamy, Creamy Pumpkin Pasta


I’m all about that pump, bout that pump, that pumpkin.

Ya, I’m all about that pump, bout that pump, that pumpkin.


You would think that I might be tired of it. After all, I have met many people abroad who think American’s obsession with pumpkin related food and drink borders on creepy. But our friends in China also love the nutrient dense vegetable and often use it in dishes as well as eat the tasty seeds for a snack. In fact, pumpkin, alongside other squashes, can be found year round here at the vegetable markets.


Before working with pumpkin beyond using it out of a can to make pumpkin pie, I thought it was a pretty boring ingredient. I was so wrong. I had no idea of it’s potential, and was also totally oblivious to how nutritious it is. Pumpkin and other squashes have cancer and diabetes fighting properties, and pumpkin seeds are packed with protein and omega-6s. Pumpkin can be used in soups, bread and cakes, ice cream, smoothies, roasts, pastas and more. It’s so creamy and buttery that it can actually be used as a butter replacement in baked goods!


I gotta go get more pumpkin!


If you are not familiar with cooking with pumpkin, this recipe is a great way to start. You can definitely used canned pumpkin if you don’t have access to fresh pumpkin. Just make sure it’s pure pumpkin.

Ingredients:


1 package uncooked spaghetti noodles


1 medium-small pumpkin

2 handfuls fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped


1 tbs olive oil

1/2 white onion, diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 C coconut cream or milk, or dairy alternative of your choice

1 tsp dried rubbed sage

1 pinch nutmeg

2 tbs tapioca flour

salt and pepper to taste


Additional Toppings:


chopped walnuts

macadamia nut ricotta

tofu skin bac’un

red pepper flakes


Directions:

1. Using a hefty butcher’s knife, cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds (you can keep them to roast later if you like!). Cut pumpkin into medium chunks.

2. Prepare the pumpkin for cooking. There are a couple of ways to approach removing the shell. 1 is you deftly cut the pieces off before steaming or 2. remove the shell after pumpkin is done steaming, which is definitely easier, it just requires more time to cool after cooking so you don’t burn your hands. No matter what way you choose, the steaming method remains the same. Prepare steaming pot with water and a steaming basket, and steam pumpkin chunks for 15-20 minutes. The pumpkin is done when you can pierce it easily with a fork or chopstick.

3. In a large pan or wok, heat 1 tbs olive oil. Once heated, add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent. Remove from heat.

4. Begin to cook spaghetti and leave just a tiny bit al dente. Once cooked, remove from water, rinse, and set aside.

5. Place 3/4 of the de-skinned and steamed pumpkin into a high powered blender along with the sautéed onion and garlic, milk alternative, nutmeg, tapioca flour, salt, and pepper. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Mixture should start to become smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and taste. Adjust seasonings to your preference if needed. Blend for an additional 1-2 minutes until evenly smooth but not liquified.

6. Pour pumpkin mixture into the same large pan you used to sauté the garlic and onion and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add prepared spinach and remaining cooked pumpkin, stir in to evenly incorporate, and heat for 2-3 more minutes. Add in the cooked spaghetti noodles and stir, coating all of the pasta. Cook until heated through.

7. Plate that creamy and delicious pumpkin pasta and top with walnuts, macadamia nut ricotta, and tofu skin bac’un.


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