Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pumpkin in January

When I think of pumpkin, I think of any of the following: Fall, October, muffins, bread, pie, and Thanksgiving.

When someone says "pumpkin," I would not typically think of pasta. Or the month of January. It just seems inappropriate.

Until now.

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.

Pasta Ingredients:
  • 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.


  1. mmmm great minds think alike- i'm having pumpkin pasta for lunch tomorrow :) this looks wonderful!

  2. I overdose on pumpkin in the fall and then forget about it. Thanks for the reminder that' it's not just good in the fall! :)

  3. Yum!! I've made this recipe before!! Its so good. Pumpkin, pasta, and cheese are made for each other! Love the addition of walnuts too. Hazelnuts also go great with this :)

  4. I think pumpkin is good every month :) This looks especially delicious!

  5. This sounds fantastic, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate kabocha (pumpkin) or winter squash...This really sounds and looks pretty darn good.

  6. this looks really yummy.. i will take pumpkin anytime of the year:)

  7. i think pumpkin and pasta just fits so well together! its such a seasonal ingredient, but pumpkin isnt just a fall food- it totally works for winter dishes as well. and when its made into a pasta meal- all the better! YUM YUM <3

  8. Pumpkin pasta, what?! Then again, I just had a veggie roll with acorn squash, cream cheese, mango, and siracha wrapped in soy paper. It sounds strange but the combo was amazing!

  9. I love pumpkin especially with pasta. I like to make cavatelli with pumpkin. This looks delicious. I'll def have to try!

  10. I usually think of pumpkin as being all things fall too, but I would definitely make an exception for this dish!! It sounds amazing! I've never had pumpkin pasta before, but I am more than willing to give it a try. And yes, I agree, the cheese probably makes this dish!

  11. Yum! I love pumpkin ravioli/tortellini, but hadn't thought to put it ON pasta. Cheese + crumb topping = scrumptious! Also, I saw some decorative pumpkins on a porch today, so I think you're fine having this in January. :)

  12. I have a gorgeous pumpkin sitting in my kitchen right now that I keep meaning to cook to put in my freezer. I'm printing this recipe and sticking it to my refrigerator to give me an incentive to get it done- it sounds delicious!

  13. I'm a cheese fanatic and a pumpkin fanatic. I think I need to make this happen in my kitchen! :)

  14. I love pumpkin year round and I don't think i can last more than one day without cheese.
    Your pasta sounds delicious.
    Thanks for sharing Kylie.
    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend