How to turn your pumpkin into comfort food
The days are starting to fly by a little too quickly. We're up way up here in Copenhagen and currently contemplating extending our trip. If it wasn't for my intense desire to see Vienna, I think it'd be a no brainer.But it's been almost a month since we've seen our hotdog and I think it's time to go home.
While the bulk of our trip has been spent seeking out exciting restaurants and sites, we did have a little downtime in our insanely cute airbnb in Amsterdam. We hoofed it over to the farmers market to pick out ingredients in the rain, ate deep-dish apple pie with a giant dollop of whipped cream, and then went back to spend the day in reading, lounging, and cooking. Two things about this. Firstly, checking out the farmers market in a new city is always so exciting, because you never really know what you'll find. I was looking for pumpkin and so excited to see that all the pumpkin vendors all had adorable little hokkaido pumpkins for sale. Secondly, goodness did I miss cooking and a properly home-cooked cozy kind of meal. Anyway, somehow the day quickly turned to night and we spent the night in with a big 'ole pot of mac and gouda and a bunch of Amsterdam IPAs for Moses.
This is a no-recipe kind of recipe, in that I can give you approximate cooking times and temp, as well as an ingredient list and some tips and tricks but really encourage you to do you when you make this. It's a non-traditional pumpkin and sage mac and gouda because I didn't make a roux or do anything like that. The homemade pumpkin puree pretty much does all the work thickening up and stabilizing the sauce, so all you've really got to do is add some crème fraîche and loads of gouda at the end to make it really good-a. ;) It's a super comforting and cozy dish (and gosh, I'm in the mood for it right now). It must be fall because this is the second pumpkin recipe I'm sharing in less than a week and it's part of the giant virtual pumpkin party that Sarah, aka Cake Over Steak, and Aimee, aka Twigg Studios, are throwing. You can head to either of their blogs for all the other pumpkiny recipes everyone's sharing today!!
Serves 4-6 people
- 4 hokkaido pumpkins (squash)
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 2 small round onions or 1 medium round onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 15-20 sage leaves
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted European butter
- 5 – 6 oz. crème fraîche
- 12- 16 oz. fusilli pasta (or something similar) + 1 c. of pasta water
- 2 c. shredded gouda
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Sharp knife
- Baking sheets
- Heavy bottomed pot
- Immersion blender
- Box grater
- Wooden spoon
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel and dice two of the pumpkins, being sure to remove stems and scoop out all the seeds, and toss with a couple glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, a pinch or two of both should be great, and place in a baking dish or sheet pan with raised edges. For the remaining two pumpkins, split in half, cutting from top to bottom, and remove the stem and scoop out all the seeds. Drizzle insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the diced pumpkin is just fork tender and the halves are very fork tender.
- Meanwhile, place the butter in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat till it starts to simmer, then add the sage and cook until the sage is very fragrant and crisp. Remove the sage and set on a plate lined with paper towel and add the onions to the pan. Cook until nearly translucent then add garlic and reduce heat to low, cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Right before the pumpkin is done, cook the pasta until al dente, according to directions on package. Reserve one cup of cooking water before straining out all the water.
- Once the pumpkin halves are cooked, carefully scoop out all the flesh into the pot with the onions and garlic. Cook for a minute or two on medium then add the crème fraîche and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the shredded gouda and add pasta water as needed to reach desired consistency. Add in pasta and gently toss.
- Serve with diced pumpkin and crispy sage leaves. Enjoy!
Note: This is a no-recipe kind of recipe, so use this more as a guide than the absolute truth when it come to measurements and time.