Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

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Adapted from

8 ounces penne or other short pasta
1 cup roasted pumpkin puree
1 cup veggie broth (or reserved pasta water)
1/2 cup half-and-half (regular, fat-free, or vegan)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh herb options (choose one)
Ӣ 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, sage, or oregano, chopped; OR:
Ӣ 2 tablespoons fresh basil or Italian parsley,
chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (if you don’t have veggie broth, reserve a cup of pasta water); drain pasta and set aside.
  • In pasta pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add fresh rosemary, sage, or oregano (NOT parsley or basil) and fry, stirring, until it just starts to brown, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer fried herbs to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
  • Add onion and garlic to pot carefully (oil may spatter) and return to medium heat. Sauté for 3–5 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent.
  • Stir in pumpkin puree, half-and-half, Parmesan cheese, red-pepper flakes (if using), and 1 cup veggie broth (or reserved pasta water). Stir sauce until heated through, 2–3 minutes.
  • Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat (if sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth or pasta water). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Herbs: If using fried rosemary, sage, or oregano, sprinkle on top to garnish. If using fresh basil or parsley, stir chopped herbs in with pasta, and garnish with sprigs.

Serves 2–3. Prep time, 10 minutes (doesn’t include roasting pumpkins); cook time, 30 minutes.

Cook’s note: Frying rosemary, sage, or oregano in olive oil not only turns the herb into a crispy garnish—it infuses the oil to create a tasty base for the pumpkin sauce.

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