A flavourful autumn dish!
Having enjoyed pumpkin ravioli many times, I had an idea that the same flavours would be just as delicious as a sauce on the outside of the pasta, rather than as filling, and I can now confirm it’s true! This sauce is easy to prepare and as a bonus, you can make a double batch and freeze half, to speed up making this meal a second time. To keep vegans happy, swap in coconut cream or a non-dairy cheese for the goat cheese. If making your own pumpkin puree, I recommend using a small ‘sweet’ or ‘pie’ pumpkin rather than a flavourless, stringy jack-o’-lantern one. Canned pumpkin puree (not sweetened pumpkin pie filling) is a great option as well for this tasty, satisfying dish.
- 3 cups (340 g) small pasta (macaroni or small shells)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 medium-sized shallot, minced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup (225 g) pure pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
- 2 tablespoons (26 g) tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons (1.6 g) fresh thyme leaves (or few pinches dried)
- 1/4 cup (60 g) crumbled goat cheese
- 1 cup (250 mL) vegetable broth
- pinch ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 2 cups (75 g) chopped spinach leaves
- Parmesan cheese (regular or vegan)
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice to finish
- Place a very large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and minced shallots. Sauté until onions are tender (about 2 minutes) then add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Add pumpkin puree, tomato paste, thyme and chèvre (or coconut milk) and whisk until smooth. Stir in the vegetable broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper; let simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach; cover to keep warm while spinach wilts. Sauce can be refrigerated or frozen at this point.
- While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente (just tender). Scoop out 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the starchy cooking water and set aside, then drain the pasta.
- Return skillet of sauce to medium heat. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir, then drizzle reserved cooking water over top. Continue heating, stirring constantly, until sauce is bubbling. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Transfer to a warmed serving bowl or individual (warmed) broad pasta bowls. Top with Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon, then serve hot.