Pumpkin Pasta

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Pumpkin is everywhere right now. In coffee, on bagels, baked in cookies, whipped into mousse, roasted, stewed and frozen. Try to avoid it. I dare you. Rather than run away from the squash invasion, I’ve embraced pumpkin and its similar fall vegetables butternut squash and acorn squash.

This pasta is coated with a thick, savory sauce that has the texture of a creamy pasta sauce without all the fat. Perfect for a chilly, fall night when you crave something as rich as mac and cheese, but still need to lace up your running shoes and move forward. This recipe is based on one for Creamy Pumpkin Pasta by A Bird and a Bean, but it reduces the fat content, ups the pumpkin and reduces the amount of meat without sacrificing flavor. Think of this as a foodie version of a cozy fleece jacket–warm, comforting and satisfying. We used a wonderful, smoked, lean Canadian bacon from Mae Farm, and this added a tremendous amount of flavor with very little meat (saving fat and $$$). If you don’t have Swiss chard, you can easily replace it with chopped, fresh spinach or another mild green.

Embrace pumpkins and fall greens this fall!

Pumpkin Pasta (makes 4 servings)

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 small, sweet onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces smoked Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth (or 1 can)
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground, black pepper
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chopped Swiss chard
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 lb. ceccerece pasta (or similar shaped pasta like macaroni)
  1. Heat water for pasta in a large stock pot.
  2. While water is heating, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes or until onion softens. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
  3. Add the chopped Canadian bacon and cook until warmed through–about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove vegetables and meat from the pan.
  5. Add the stock and whisk to deglaze the pan, bringing up all the brown bits (they have lots of flavor).
  6. Whisk in the almond milk, pumpkin, sour cream, nutmeg, pepper and sage, and whisk well.
  7. Add the onion mixture back to the sauce and the chard, and keep warm over low heat.
  8. Cook the pasta according to directions and drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  9. Add the cooked pasta and cheese to the sauce, tossing to coat the pasta well with sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin. Pasta sauce should coat and stick to the pasta.
  10. Serve immediately.
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Shrimp and Kohlrabi Stir Fry

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Have you ever seen a strange, new vegetable at the farmer’s market and wondered what in the world to do with it? We tried a new vegetable this week–kohlrabi! I had seen it at the markets, but I had no idea how to cook it or what parts of it to cook. So, I decided to ask the folks at In Good Heart Farm. Turns out, the leaves and root are both edible and the root, once peeled, tastes like very sweet broccoli–yum! The leaves taste much like collard greens. So, I bought a bunch and used it in a shrimp stir fry with green beans and tatsoi–another sweet green. The result was quite delicious and fresh tasting. We are now checking to see if we can plant some kohlrabi in our winter garden!

Stir fry dishes are terrific for using up leftover bits of vegetables. This stir fry features some leftover green beans that didn’t get cooked last week and some fresh, baby ginger we got at the market. In addition to our kohlrabi, we used fresh tatsoi, an Asian green that is crunchy and sweet, some sweet, local onions, and some organic garlic. Topped off with local shrimp, this dish was so good that it was hard for us to stop eating! This is a great combination we will repeat in the future.

Shrimp and Kohlrabi Stir Fry (4 servings)

  • 1 sweet, organic onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1″ piece of fresh, baby ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 organic kohlrabi, the roots peeled and sliced and the leaves washed well and chopped
  • 1 large, organic carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 2 small bunches of organic tatsoi, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/4 lb. fresh green beans, washed and trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon organic sesame seeds
  • Organic tamari soy sauce, to taste
  • Cooked rice
  1. Make sure all ingredients are washed, cut up and ready to go–cooking will go fast!
  2. Heat the grapeseed and sesame oils in a wok or large skillet over high heat.
  3. Add the onion to the hot oil and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the kohlrabi leaves and root slices and stir fry 2-3 minutes or until leaves begin to wilt.
  5. Add the garlic, ginger, carrot and green beans. Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes, tossing ingredients well.
  6. Add the tatsoi and shrimp. Toss and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until leaves are soft and the shrimp are just pink and opaque.
  7. Remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over hot rice.
  8. Sprinkle with tamari, to taste.
  9. Serve immediately.
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