Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta is what you need when winter is holding you hostage.
I think every person living in a place where the temperature can go below -25 degrees anything should have a few recipes that can be made entirely with things from a cupboard.
Fresh is great, but when your world is covered with 6 inches of ice and 90 km winds are blowing from what seems every direction, putting off grocery shopping is just good sense.
So for all experiencing the particular miseries of a polar vortex, here is Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta. All you need is a small can of pumpkin, some milk (dairy or non-dairy, canned or other), cheese and some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried onion flakes. (Plus the pasta.)
Cook your pasta, mix up all the other ingredients, toss them together and bake it all for about 20 minutes. Super easy and you have some vegetable content without even chopping anything. (And young humans like it, so no complaining.)
If you have fresh roasted pumpkin or butternut squash, well that’s just fine, too. You can also fancy it up with roasted garlic puree, or fresh herbs, or sauteed mushrooms, or whatever else you might feel like adding.
But you don’t have to. Uncomplicated and canned is okay.
This recipe is easy and adaptable. You can easily make it vegan by using non-dairy milk and cheese. You can add vegetables and seasonings: chopped spinach, sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic puree, grated carrots, fresh or dried herbs. It doubles and triples easily, so you can make it for a crowd. You also don't have to be super precise with measurements - a bit more or less of the main ingredients will still work out okay.
- 3 cups 750 ml uncooked tube pasta (macaroni, rotini, penne or cavatappi)
- 1-2/3 cups 398 ml pumpkin puree (one small can)
- 1-1/2 cups 375 ml milk (evaporated, regular, or non-dairy)
- 1 cup 250 ml grated Cheddar (or non-dairy cheese)
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml salt
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons 30 ml dehydrated onions
- 1/4 teaspoon 1.25 ml ground pepper
Cook pasta in boiling water until it is cooked through but not soft. (This should take between 7 and 10 minutes depending on your pasta brand.)
While pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch / 23x23 cm baking dish. In large mixing bowl, stir together remaining ingredients: pumpkin, milk, cheese, salt, garlic powder, onions and pepper.
Drain pasta and pour pumpkin sauce over. Stir to combine evenly, and spread in prepared baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
This dish can be prepared in advance, but don't mix the pasta and sauce until you are ready to bake the dish. The pasta will absorb too much liquid from the sauce and it will be drier when baked.