From time to time, Chow Bella's contributors challenge one another to a showdown: Make the best dish you can, using one common ingredient. This time (naturally), it was pumpkin. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the results, and at the end, we'll let you know who won.
Today: Hooch columnist and market shopper Heather Hoch.
In my family, I became the family chef wannabe in my teens. With both parents exhausted from cooking for me and my older sisters, I started to make my own food and quickly became popular around Thanksgiving with dishes like goat cheese- and chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon as well as my kale and pear salad. I've never been too big on sweets, so I figured I should attempt to go savory with my Pumpkin Showdown dish. Plus, I couldn't resist the allure of making something unusual but also unexpected and delicious.
Admittedly, I took the initial idea from a recipe found on Delish.com. However, I did tweak the original recipe slightly by doubling up on the butter, browning it in a pan and adding the sage to it. I also added a dash of cinnamon for no other reason than I am obsessed with cinnamon and I think it goes well with pumpkin and sage.
Ingredients One package of linguine (or whatever pasta suits you) 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup pumpkin puree ½ cup grated parmesan (plus a little extra for garnish) ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper dash of cinnamon 4 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ cup finely chopped sage (plus a little extra for garnish) One large pot (to cook the pasta), one sauce pan and one small skillet
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Directions Step 1: Whisk cream and pumpkin puree over medium heat in a saucepan. Once combined, whisk in the parmesan, salt, pepper and a dash of (optional, but recommended) cinnamon. Be careful with the salt because the parmesan adds a healthy dose of saltiness too. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes until it thickens.
Step 2: In a separate pan, brown your butter until it smells amazing. If you've browned butter before, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you will. Add in the chopped sage and take the pan off of the heat. At this point, you're home should smell like fall in the best way. Allow the brown butter and sage to cool.
Step 3: Once the butter mixture cools (but not hardens), slowly whisk it in to the creamy, pumpkin base. Toss the sauce with your favorite pasta (I chose linguine) and serve with shaved Parmesan and thinly chopped sage as a garnish.