I posted a pumpkin pasta recipe once before, but believe it or not, this one is completely different. Some of the ingredients are the same, mostly because there are certain flavors (sage, nutmeg) that simply have to go with pumpkin. But this is a great example of how the same basic flavors can be combined in a variety of ways to make utterly different dishes.
This is a crunchy, flavor-packed, spicy and sophisticated pasta dish that's a fun twist on flavors you think you know well. And it's not even decadent. Pumpkin is so good for you, it's ridiculous. We just have psychological associations with pumpkin and nutmeg that make us think "Oooh, I'm indulging." But in this case, it's really not true.
This is a great way to use up leftover canned pumpkin from, oh, perhaps pumpkin muffins or cookies. Enjoy the fall flavors and surprise your family with a completely unexpected variation on a familiar theme.
Baked Pumpkin Pasta with Sage Crumb Topping
adapted from Veganomicon
3 slices of stale (i.e. not super soft) whole grain bread
handful of walnut pieces
4 or 5 fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound short cut whole grain pasta
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1. Make the topping by putting all the topping ingredients in a food processor, except the oil. Process until a coarse bread crumb mixture forms. With the processor running, stream the oil into the bread crumb mixture. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 and spray an 8 x 8 or similar sized casserole dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
3. While pasta is cooking, heat remaining olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, stirring only occasionally, until onions are browned and starting to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Combine the pasta, onions, sugar, nutmeg, cayenne, pumpkin, and broth in a mixing bowl until well mixed. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the bread crumb mixture. Bake 25 minutes, or until bread crumb topping is golden brown.