Hobo Cooking #5: Pumpkin Sage Pasta

Another one of my favorite things to stuff my face with. I slightly modified this recipe from the NYtimes cooking app. It’s by vegan chef Lindsay S. Nixon, from her new cookbook. You can find her original recipe here.

Ps: I haven’t stuck to the vegan rules for this recipe, because I found a ton of organic chicken stock in the container a few months ago and I have hard cheese that I found in Narbonne. Also, I found the pumpkin that I’ve used in the recipe in Töpen.

(wish my photos were more food-porney… the lighting inside our bus is not food-porn conducive)

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The original recipe is great, but I have a few objections… okay, actually just one: the canned pumpkin.  I really think that you should never, ever, ever use canned pumpkin unless you are baking. It doesn’t taste like “autumn” (as the website claims) it tastes like fucking nothing. Even in baking, it’s definitely not as good, but you can get away with it there if you have to (still don’t) but not this recipe.

That, of course, means that you will have to cut and de-seed the pumpkin, cut it into pieces and boil it. It’s not really all thaaaat strenuous, it just takes a little while. That said, while the pumpkin is boiling you can be doing other things, and you can boil a lot of pumpkin at once and use it for other stuff like pumpkin pie smoothies (omg) or gnocchi or actual pie or tons of other delicious stuff.

I have also axed the pumpkin pie spice and the pinch of dried oregano and the optional red-pepper flakes, because I just don’t think that they add anything. I think it’s better to keep it down to a few simple flavors, otherwise it gets all muddled.

Remember though that the pumpkin will lose its flavor the longer you leave it in the refrigerator, so try to use it all up on the first day. You can maybe get away with a second day but by the third day it tastes like nothing. It might hold its flavor longer if you freeze it but I wouldn’t know because I’m a hobo and hobos don’t have a freezers.

I recommend Hokkaido pumpkin over all others, because the flavor is unbeatable. They are a little difficult to get in the US, but in Europe they’re standard. They are so sweet and so nutty, you can even serve this stuff totally straight without any seasoning at all and it’s fucking perfect.  Also, this is the only pumpkin that I know that has edible skin, so make sure you clean it really well to get any gunk off the outside of it before you boil. Here’s a photo that I stole from the internet in case you don’t know what they look like:

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Butternut squash is also an option, if you can’t get your hands on a pumpkin.

Butternut squash

Ok so here’s a walkthrough of my version of this:

Ingredients:

  • Hokkaido pumpkin (cleaned, de-seeded, cut into quarters)
  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • Sage (fresh chopped sage is obviously the best but don’t hesitate to used dried if it’s all you’ve got. It will still be good)
  • Your favorite pasta (I think that spiral pasta is hands-down the best for holding this sauce though just saying)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Dump in your pumpkin quarters and let boil until soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork, about fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin. When finished, drain water and let cool. When cool enough to be picked up, transfer to a large bowl and puree using whatever kitchen device you have. I personally have only an immersion blender in the bus, so I used that. Don’t bother removing the skins before pureeing, they will be soft enough to get blended.

Boil the pasta in the usual way. As that’s going, put some pumpkin in a small saucepan and dilute it with stock until desired thickness is achieved. I like it pretty thick, and if you’re using a hokkaido pumpkin you don’t want to lose all the pumpkin flavor in the saltiness of the broth. If using dried sage, add immediately, and let the sauce sit on low heat for about five or six minutes. Then remove from heat. If using fresh sage, add about a minute before removing the sauce from heat. Let sit for about five-ish minutes “allowing the flavors to merge and sauce to thicken slightly”, says Lindsey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dump sauce over pasta, grate lots of cheese over it, eat, done.

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