Cheese Tortellini with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

During my quest to finish up the frozen pumpkin in our freezer, I really wanted to try a savory recipe. I’ve often seen swanky restaurants and chefs on tv combining pumpkin and pasta, but this was the first time I tried it – and I loved it! Just remember to use the pure pumpkin purée, not the sweetened and spiced pumpkin pie filling!

Start by putting a pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta. I was home alone – so I only made enough for 2 (me & me tomorrow), but you can easily double or triple these quantities for a crowd. Start by finely chopping 3 shallots and 2 cloves of garlic.

Put a small pot on medium heat, and add a heaping tablespoon of butter and a splash of olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until they’re softened and translucent. Make a roux by adding a heaped tablespoon of flour and stirring until blended with the butter, oil, shallots, and garlic.

The best way to tell when a roux is cooked is the smell – if it’s plain (just butter and flour), it’ll go from smelling like flour to smelling like shortbread. This one – well I figured it was cooked when it smelled like oniony shortbread! You’re not looking for any change in colour though, so make sure you’re stirring and smelling it frequently. A properly made roux means you’ll have a properly thickened sauce!

When the roux is ready, your pasta water is probably boiling. I usually eyeball the servings – about a large handful each, with an additional handful for the pot. I just used store bought cheese tortellini with herbs in the pasta.

Back to the sauce. Stir in about 1/2 a cup of milk, 1/2 a teaspoon of rosemary, and a few grinds of pepper.

Oh, and don’t forget to add the pumpkin! This was about 1/4 cup of pumpkin purée, thawed.

Once you stir it in the sauce becomes SO orange! As I was waiting on the pasta finishing, the sauce got a bit too thick. I added a couple tablespoons of chicken stock to loosen it up – but vegetarians could use vegetable stock!

Toss the drained tortellini in the sauce and serve, topping each bowl with a few grinds of pepper and some grated parmesan.

I have to say, I really enjoyed my first meal using pumpkin as a savory ingredient. It tasted like a familiar alfredo-style sauce, but then had a hint of pumpkin flavour.

Next time, I might even add equal parts pumpkin and milk to boost the pumpkin flavour. Regardless, it was really tasty – the next day, too!

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