Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cheese Tortellini in a Pumpkin Sauce

Once those temperatures begin to drop, the leaves begin to turn, and fall produce ripens, I get inspired to cook. Every time we walk into the produce section, I turn into kid in a candy store. I gasp (literally, I'm surprised I haven't hyperventilated or fainted yet) over the pumpkins, apples, cranberries and all the winter squash--butternut, acorn, blue hubbard, carnival, turban . . . I just love their colors and shapes, tastes and textures. Oh and we can't forget the gourds, Indian corn, and baby boo pumpkins.

So I've been spending way too much time lately looking up autumn recipes and have been coming across a lot of pumpkin sauce recipes for cheese ravioli. My mind doesn't automatically put pumpkin and cheese together (unless it's pumpkin cheesecake), but like Eric told me, everything goes with cheese. So I concocted my own sauce and was absolutely blown away by how magnificently it paired with the cheese tortellini. Pumpkin and cheese definitely go together! What makes this sauce even better, it only takes about 10 minutes to make.
Spinach and cheese tortellini with pumpkin sauce, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 cup low fat cream cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese, garnish

9-10 ounce package of cheese ravioli or tortellini. We used Buitoni spinach and cheese tortellini because a.) it was on sale and b.) it was green and would look cool with the sauce. Yes, I'm that much of a dork.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

In a saucepan add pumpkin, broth, brown sugar, butter, garlic powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix together and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese and mix until the cheese is melted and dispersed. Pour over pasta and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Trust me, you want to add the Parmesan, it really completes the dish.

Sour Cream:
While coming up with this sauce, I played with some variations. All the recipes for pumpkin sauce I found called for sour cream instead of cream cheese. I'm not a huge fan of sour cream. I do cook with it, but only when it's final taste is subtle. I tried a batched with the sour cream, however, and it wasn't bad at all. It gave the sauce a tangy-ness I liked but was a little too sour creamy for me. Eric liked the sour cream version (he was my test dummy and a sour cream lover.) The cream cheese gives the sauce a milder, creamier taste, which I personally prefer. But if you like sour cream, you'll probably like the sauce made with sour cream.

Brown Sugar:
I also played with the sugar content. To be honest, this sauce is a little on the sweet side. You can reduce the sugar in the sauce down to 1 tablespoon. It cuts the overall sweetness and still leaves the sauce with a pleasant taste. However, I felt it was missing something. To find that missing element, I experimented by adding more cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. I tried tossing in sage and all spice. In the end what it needed was that little bit more sugar. For some reason the sweetness adds to the complexity of the taste and contrasts just so perfectly with creaminess of the cheese in the pasta and especially the Parmesan.

Look forward to a lot more pumpkin and autumn recipes in the coming months!



No comments:

Post a Comment