Occasionally I admit that I live in a Disney fantasyland where candlesticks come to life and orchestrate the cleaning of my kitchen and Prince Charming actually texts me back.
In reality, dishes are piling up in the sink and my phone is all too quiet. On the bright side, even though this pumpkin didn’t magically transform into a carriage, it did turn into the tastiest alfredo of my life. Alfredo sounds like he could be a charming character, doesn’t he?
Technically, this is an abstract alfredo since it’s not loaded with butter and Parmesan like traditional alfredo sauce. Instead, it’s made creamy with pumpkin purée and seasoned with rosemary, red pepper and tangy goat cheese. It’s precisely what I’ve been craving in this chilly weather, especially after what’s-his-name didn’t holler back. Alfredo it is.
Last weekend, a guy teased me for using canned pumpkin purée instead of homemade in my pumpkin bread, so I went to the trouble of making my own for this recipe. Was it worth it? I’m not entirely convinced it was. The homemade purée not only took so long that I ran out of daylight to take photos of the finished pasta (grumble), but also has a higher moisture content than the organic canned stuff. Therefore, I’m not sure I would trust it for baking.
In terms of flavor, pumpkin purée really doesn’t have much of it—whether canned or homemade, it’s not that great until you spice it up and add a dash of salt. Conclusion? Make your own if you’re so inclined but feel free to crank open a can instead. I won’t judge.
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) whole wheat fettuccine (linguine would also work)
- 1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, plus more for sprinkling on top (a 3-inch sprig of rosemary should do it)
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 3 ounces goat cheese cheese, cut into big chunks
- 1 cup pumpkin puree*
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- shaved Parmesan cheese for topping
- Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (consult directions on package). Drain and set aside.
- Heat a 10 to 12-inch saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and stir to create a roux, until bubbly and golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in milk, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Stir constantly and increase the heat a little bit, if necessary, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add in goat cheese, pumpkin, cinnamon, salt and pepper, whisking until smooth and thickened into a sauce. Season with additional salt (don't be shy) and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta to pan and toss to combine. Remove from heat and serve immediately; top each serving with a sprinkle of finely chopped rosemary (necessary), red pepper flakes (optional, if you like spice like me) and Parmesan shavings.
- Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
- Serves two generously or three to four with sides.
- Whole wheat noodles work particularly well here because they retain more of a bite and lend texture to a dish that might otherwise end up mushy. I used Mara's Pasta fettuccine, which I like, but any brand will do.
- If you don't like goat cheese, let me first say that I don't understand you even though I used to be one of you... but I still love you. Try substituting mascarpone cheese or cream cheese or any melty cheese (fontina would be good) for the goat cheese.
- Gently reheat leftovers with a splash of milk.
- *To make your own pumpkin purée: preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut off the top-most part of the pumpkin where it meets the stem. Slice the pumpkin into two, from the top through the bottom. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds, reserving them for roasted pumpkin seeds if you'd like. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the flesh of the pumpkin halves with a light coating of olive oil and place facedown on the baking sheet. Roast until the skin is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 to 55 minutes. Turn the halves over and let them rest until cool enough to handle. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh into a food processor or high-powered blender (I found that I could just pull the skin off). Blend well. Measure out one cup for this recipe. Once the rest has cooled down, store it in the fridge, covered, for a few days or in an air-tight bag in the freezer for up to a few months.