When someone says "pumpkin," I would not typically think of pasta. Or the month of January. It just seems inappropriate.
Tonight's dish defies everything you thought you knew about pumpkin. We're talking pumpkin meets whole wheat pasta, caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, Asiago cheese...and a savory crumb topping.
It's kind of like macaroni and cheese with a mega-hit of beta carotene and vitamin A, right? This baby is good, it's filling, and it was clearly designed to be eaten on a cold January day.
The recipe is actually a creative hybrid: I combined my friend Lisa's recipe for Pumpkin-Cheese Ravioli with Veganomicon's Pumpkin and Caramelized Onion Manicotti. If you're a major cheese fanatic, feel free to pump up the cheese factor as you see fit. And the crumb topping? Simply blissful, friends. Simply blissful.
Pumpkin-Asiago Penne with Walnut Crumb Topping
(a hybrid recipe, adapted from the minds of Lisa S. and Veganomicon)
I simply couldn't go vegan with this one--I love Asiago too much, and I think the salty sharp-ness of the cheese added a scrumptious flavor. However, you can vegan-ize the recipe by using a homemade, dairy-less ricotta (a quick online search will point you in the right direction) and eliminating the cheese.
- 3/4 pound whole wheat pasta
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- 1/4 cup veggie broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
Crumb Topping Ingredients:
- 2 - 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or real butter)
- 2 tsp. Savory seasoning or poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp. dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried Paprika
- Salt n' Pepper
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2) While the pasta is cooking, cook the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until nicely browned--about 10 - 15 minutes.
3) In a large bowl combine the ricotta, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt, Asiago, veggie broth, and pepper. Stir in the caramelized onions and pasta. Pour into 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
4) To prepare the crumb topping, melt the Earth Balance/butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients and cook/toast for 3 - 5 minutes, until the mixture is thoroughly combined and well-coated. Sprinkle evenly over the penne pasta.
5) Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.