Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creamy Pumpkin Penne Pasta

  1. Hey, hey, hey, it's Pumpkin Week this week on Good Morning Idaho.  I'm honored to be asked to cook something up for my third year.  I wanted to come up with a savory pumpkin dish that was on the healthy side.  I made this dish with whole grain pasta which is high in protein.  Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables that is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins.  Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits.  You can read all about them here.  This is a very quick and easy recipe for a healthy weeknight meal.  Not to mention delicious!  Tune in to Good Morning Idaho Channel 6 at around 6:40 a.m. tomorrow!

Creamy Pumpkin Penne Pasta

serves 6


  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

  • 1 pound whole grain penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spread the pepitas in a pie plate and toast for about 5 minutes.  
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook over medium heat until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.  
  4. Add the pumpkin puree into the pot and cook over medium heat until hot.  Mix in the mascarpone (You could substitute regular cream cheese or ricotta cheese) and the 1/4 cup of grated cheese.  Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water and toss to coat thoroughly and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pasta to bowls,  sprinkle the pepitas, parmigiano and chives on top then grate a little fresh nutmeg as well (trust me, use the fresh stuff!) and serve.