Despite the temptation, October cannot be spent existing solely on spooky treats. We’d all be psychotic by Halloween or suffering a sucrose coma in the least. Admittedly I’m having trouble letting the whimsy of the holiday go, wanting to eke out every last moment until November 1.
I challenged myself this week to consider making something with pumpkin that felt festive to the season but not baked or soup. I don’t know that I’ve ever used pumpkin outside those two food genres. Somehow incorporating it into pasta piqued my curiosity and I set out to whip up a spicy rendition of a pasta cream sauce staying true to the fall flavors.
I love the smoky flavors of chipotle en adobo and that immediately sprang to mind. To my good fortunate the experimentation unveiled a creamy, spicy, smooth sauce lightly flavored with pumpkin, oregano and sage. The color can’t be beat and it would make a perfect addition to a Halloween buffet to offset the traditional sweet treats. You can pair it with your favorite pasta.
I noted a new style of Tinkyada (my preferred gluten free pasta brand for the quality of ingredients and its end structure) spaghetti: White Rice Spaghetti. Though I have not compared the brown and white rice versions, I’d suppose brown rice has a higher nutritional content but I always experiment with newly released versions liking to know all my options. This looks most visually similar to gluten spaghetti and has a great texture when cooked.
I’d like to flag something for gluten free diners. I’m a creature of habit, shopping at the same neighborhood market and buying the same brands (largely due to the high quality and organic nature of them). I went to a different store to pick up the chipotle en adobo and fortunately checked the label of the brand I picked up. Indeed it had wheat flour. I suppose as a thickener. Brand number 2: also with wheat flour. Fortunately brand number 3 did not have anything with gluten in it but again a reminder to always read your labels!
This creamy pumpkin chipotle sauce is a perfect way to celebrate the season in a unique way. Full, warming flavors of fall deliver a special dish to enliven Halloween or any fall day.
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree or 15 ounces of fresh pumpkin puree
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup dry sherry (if you prefer not to use sherry, substitute more chicken broth)
- 1 chipotle en adobo, seeded and chopped
- ½ teaspoon adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon crème fraiche or sour cream
- Finish: Hickory smoked salt and roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- In a medium, heavy saucepan melt butter and add olive oil. Add chopped onion and garlic; sauté until translucent (about 4-5 minutes).
- Add pumpkin, chicken broth, dry sherry (note: the alcohol content will cook off), chipotle, adobo sauce, oregano, red pepper flakes and sage. Stir to incorporate. Bring to a very low boil, reduce heat to simmer and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes; stirring periodically.
- Add the cream and crème fraiche or sour cream. Simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes.
- Using an immersion/stick blender (or pouring sauce into a conventional blender) blend until smooth. Pour onto prepared pasta of your choice. Finish with smoked salt (I prefer hickory for this; available online or at spice shops) and roasted, salted pepitas. Serve immediately.