Pumpkin and Alfredo Sauce? I know, here we go with yet another ‘It’s-fall-so-let’s-put-pumpkin-in-EVERYTHING-until-we-puke’ thing, right? Maybe I shouldn’t use the word Puke when I’m trying to tell you how fabulous a recipe is. Well, anyway- canned pumpkin in your alfredo sauce recipe is actually a perfect pairing for a few reasons. Besides the super-pack of vitamins, especially Vitamin K, the canned pumpkin in this recipe helps to thicken your sauce and adds a butter-creamy flavor that replaces the need for a ton of butter and you can actually eliminate the cream. I used milk instead of cream and only 3 tablespoons of butter. You could leave the butter out completely and use coconut or almond milk for a dairy-free option. Fresh kale, wilted, adds some nice color (more vitamins and healthy ingredients) plus if you chop the kale nice and small, your kids just might eat it.
My recipe evolved quickly from THIS lovely thing…
that fell into my shopping cart.
I bought it without even flipping through the pages, and though I may not want to cook 100 pumpkin recipes this season (I might cook 50), I want to cook anything and everything that get’s me ready/excited for fall because I’ve been waiting for it since the second 100-degree summer day back in July. Whether you love to cook with pumpkin; or you love fall; or dread it because it’s “good-bye summer”; this is a delicious, fast and easy recipe. The pumpkin is not over-powering at all. Green onions and garlic compliment each other very well, and the spice combination of pesto, cayenne and nutmeg really work with the Parmesan cheese (and the pumpkin, I have to add).
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta with Kale is a perfect weeknight meal; it’s 30 minutes, start to finish. Some grilled or baked chicken breasts sliced and placed on top make for a hearty dish with protein; and why not throw on some cherry tomatoes for even more color? Plus the tomatoes taste fabulous on this pasta dish.
Whether you’ve already bought out the supply of canned pumpkin at the grocer or you just love alfredo pasta and are looking for a healthier way to serve it, this is a must-try recipe. And… happy fall y’all! I’ll stop now. 😉
- 3 cups dried whole grain or gluten-free rigatoni, macaroni or any pasta with ridges to hold the sauce
- 4 cups rough-chopped fresh kale (more or less to your liking)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons white wine (may sub broth, or white wine vinegar)
- ¼ cup green onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or smashed and rough chopped
- 2 tablespoons pesto (homemade or store-bought, or fresh chopped basil will also do)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
- 2 cups milk, I use whole milk
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- In a Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions, adding kale during the last 30 seconds; drain. Return to pan, cover and keep warm.
- While the pasta is cooking, start your sauce; in a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat, add the white wine and cook just a couple minutes until bubbling. Add the green onion, garlic and pesto. Continue to cook until the wine has reduced out a bit, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cayenne and fresh nutmeg.
- Stir in the milk, canned pumpkin and one cup Parmesan cheese. After the cheese has melted, taste the sauce and add more seasoning or Parmesan if desired. The sauce should be nice and thick and will continue to thicken after it's mixed with the pasta. If you want to thin your sauce, add a little more milk and an extra tablespoon of butter. Taste again.
- Add the sauce to about ¾ of the pasta, to coat. Add more of the pasta until your dish has the desired consistency.
- Sprinkle individual servings with additional Parmessan cheese and, if desired, addditional green onions.
Recipe loosely adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication 100 Pumpkin Recipes.