Posted tagged ‘Pumpkin Thyme Rigatoni’

Pumpkin Thyme Rigatoni (and a delicious bonus: Asparagus Stir-Fry)

November 3, 2011

Last night, with much enthusiasm, I set out to make Pumpkin Thyme Rigatoni.  My taste buds clearly read the 60-something degree weather in Tampa as “Fall” and immediately equated that with pumpkin.  And I was craving a rich, hearty pumpkin dish.

How could I resist a dish this simple, yet this beautiful?

Except, I can tell you for certain that this isn’t what Pumpkin Thyme Rigatoni  looked like at my house.  I wish I had a picture of what I made to compare with this shot… but I can tell you that the effect was similar to taking someone’s profile picture on an online dating site at face value, only to encounter a hyena sitting at the bar when you walk in.  And not a metaphorical hyena.  An actual hyena.  

I will readily admit that I didn’t use a sugar pumpkin.  I, in fact, wouldn’t know a sugar pumpkin if I saw one.  But I do know that I might start calling Amy sugar pumpkin just to throw her off guard.  Anyway, I substituted a butternut squash.  Seemed like a safe bet.  Except that I had never cooked a butternut squash before.  I followed the directions on the sticker on the outside of the squash (which told me to microwave the squash in 3/4 inch of water for 8-10 minutes)–and what I ended up with was not the tender, deliciousness I had been craving.  Even after continuing to cook the squash in the “sauce” like the recipe dictated, I still didn’t have anything that could pass as a pumpkin substitute.

At this point, you are probably wondering why I am writing about this recipe at all. But it is because the flavors were so enticing, because the sauce was so fragrant… I just have to believe this recipe can be saved.  And because I have a hard time admitting defeat, but whatever.

Okay, so here is what I would do differently:  I would buy frozen butternut squash or canned pumpkin to use in the recipe.  I just don’t think, for this dish, it is work the effort to work with the real thing.  But, if you insist on being a purist, then puree the squash or pumpkin before using it in the sauce.  Because, if you don’t, you will end up with cubes of squash or pumpkin sitting in a soup like “sauce.”  Something that really clings to the noodles will work best.  

Trust me on this one.  Please.

Now, since you have so patiently listened to my Pumpkin Chronicles, I give you the amazing Asparagus Stir-Fry.  Completely and utterly delectable in every way.  The only change I made was leaving out the red pepper flakes (but only because I forgot them in the stir-frying fury).  And I served it over brown rice.  One of my new favorite dinners, for sure.