Yesterday, I returned to the Midwest after helping Jenn get settled in Southern California. It's like a different world out there: palm trees line the streets, the temperature hovers around the 70s, and the sunshine is like liquid gold. Once in a great while, a rare deciduous tree is seen with changing leaves, but for the most part, the area is void of the sensory sights associated with fall. However, people still decorate their homes and shops with life-like looking colored leaves, burlap, and gourds. The restaurants were all offering autumn salads that featured roasted squash and pumpkin seeds. It occurred to me that whatever part of the country one is in, people still love to celebrate the change of seasons. Although "Falling for Fall" is spoofed, I confess I tumble in too! Right now I'm into dishes that highlight squash and autumn colors like the one in this post. Although the sauce is rich, it has so much flavor that you can drizzle it sparingly on the stuffed shells and not feel guilty!
Savory Pumpkin Stuffed Pasta Shells
Ingredients for 12 stuffed shells:
12 jumbo pasta shells
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, put through a press
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook the pasta shells in boiling water according to the package directions. While they are cooking, combine the pumpkin, shallots, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. When the pasta shells are ready, drain and rinse with cool water. Stuff each shell with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture.
Cover a baking sheet with foil and a bit of cooking spray. Place the stuffed shells on the sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While they are baking, prepare the parmesan sauce.
Ingredients for sauce
2/3 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 cups of arugula for "bed" to rest shells on
Place cream, butter, and wine into pan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium low heat for about 2 minutes until well blended and mixture bubbles. Take off the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Place the arugula on a serving platter. Arrange the baked stuffed shell on top. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle the nuts and chopped sage on top. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.