Oppan Pumpkin Style

Oh yes, fall has kicked off with the Autumnal Equinox on Sept 22.

Fall means turning leaves, cooler nighttime air, sweaters, boots and brown leather (or faux leather). I’m not getting much of any of that here in SoCal, as we keep experiencing more 80-100 degree days (depending upon where you are). People are still at the beach, and it looks as though it won’t be any different next weekend!

One thing I can count on in fall is: pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin spice, pumpkin the pumpkin….

Pumpkin Patch, Moorpark, 2011

As you know, I am annoyed/fearful/bored with going to grocery stores and making food for just myself. So this weekend I tried to put together something from my cupboard/fridge that I already had. Hmmm… Gluten-free corn noodles, garlic, onion, and a can of pumpkin? Off to the Internet I went, searching for a way to create a masterpiece. What I found, was a Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce recipe from Martha Stewart.


Martha’s Version
Canned pumpkin puree isn’t only good for pie; here, it becomes a creamy sauce for penne, topped with deliciously crunchy fried rosemary. Everyday Food, November Winter 2007

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Total Time 30 minutes
  • Yield Serves 4


  • 12 ounces penne rigate (ridged), or other short pasta (I used long pasta- that’s all I had!)
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (from my yard)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (used regular milk)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (didn’t have)
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)
Gluten Free Corn Pasta


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring, until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
  3. Carefully (oil is hot and will spatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried rosemary and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.
My version

Cook’s Note

Frying rosemary in olive oil not only turns the herb into a crispy garnish — it also infuses the oil to create a tasty base for the pumpkin sauce.

I made a little too much of the sauce, so I saved it for a soup the next day, which wasn’t half bad.

Soup By-Product

Overall, the recipe sounded like it would be good (and granted, I didn’t have all the ingredients), but it was actually- pretty bland! Even with the addition of red pepper flakes and salt and pepper, it was missing something. I’m guessing the fat from the cream and the salt from the parmesan would have probably helped. If anyone has ideas on how to pump up this recipe, I would be interested in trying it out!


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