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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pumpkin Penne

Good friends will listen to your ridiculousness time after time, even if they are secretly annoyed. Great friends will tell you to shut it when you're being a little too dramatic.

Good friends will take you out for ice cream for your birthday. Great friends will buy you an ice cream maker for your birthday.

Good friends will make time to see you, but sometimes life gets in the way. Great friends don't let life get in the way.

Good friends put up with your pumpkin obsession all Fall-long, rejoicing when December hits and pumpkin season is "over". Great friends will still eat pumpkin meals with you in February!

Paige and Ashley are great friends. I've talked about them before and the fun we have with our monthly girls dinners. Last month it was my turn to host and I had my eye on a pumpkin pasta dish that I never got around to making last Fall. Because they're great friends (and, let's be honest, huge pumpkin lovers themselves) they gladly obliged and pumpkin penne served as our main course.

I liked this pasta dish because it was both simple and fast. I slightly adapted from the original recipe, including upping the amount of pumpkin, but the finished product still didn't taste super pumpkiny. I think even pumpkin-haters would eat this pasta. I really liked how creamy the pumpkin, milk, and cottage cheese mixture was; it made the dish feel much more decadent than it actually was!

Grab a can of pumpkin, some great friends, and make this dish...no need to wait until Fall!

(by the way, I realize you don't use the whole can of pumpkin in this recipe...and I've got a great post coming in a few days to show you how to use the rest of it!)

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Pumpkin Penne
adapted from Proceed with Caution
*serves 6

-1/2 box whole wheat penne pasta
-3 tsp olive oil
-1 large onion, thinly sliced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-4 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
-4 links cooked chicken sausage, sliced
-1 cup low fat cottage cheese
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-3/4 cup nonfat milk
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 (10 oz.) bag fresh spinach
-grated parmesan cheese, for topping

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, cooking for 1-015 minutes, until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage to the skillet and continue to cook.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Mix pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk in a blender until lump-free. Add to skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg.
4. Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture from skillet to pasta along with spinach. Toss until spinach wilts. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.