Pumpkin Penne with Arugula, Mushrooms and Romano

September 22, 2011 · 27 comments

in healthy,pasta,pumpkin,quick and easy,vegetarian


I love pumpkin desserts and drinks, but I’ve always shied away from savory pumpkin dishes. I tried pumpkin soup once and it basically tasted like a hot, liquid version of ice cream and…well, that’s not good. My  husband loves it, of course, but he also loves candied sweet potatoes, which are definitely not my thing, either.

I had leftover pumpkin puree, but didn’t want to make dessert. Since I’d already made a quickbread and pancakes, those were out. I was admittedly hesitant about taking on a savory pumpkin dish, but it seemed like the only other option. I decided to look for one that wasn’t overly sweet and spicy (spicy as in cinnamon and clove-y) and came across this one.

This recipe seemed like a winner because the sauce looked thick and indulgent. It called for nutmeg, but I love nutmeg in creamy sauces, so this made sense to me. The same goes for sage. And, as you know, I can never turn anything with mushrooms down. Plus, the pumpkin amount seemed minimal, so it felt like a good transition into savory pumpkin dishes for me. The original recipe calls for gorgonzola but, try as I might, I just cannot get behind blue cheeses.  I substituted Pecorino Romano, which I love for its sharp and salty bite. I also added arugula, which gave it a slight peppery bite (since I cooked it first, the peppery flavor was drastically reduced).

We all really enjoyed this dish. It’s creamy and indulgent without the guilt, and even though it’s a vegetarian dish, the use of meaty mushrooms and whole wheat pasta made it plenty filling.

Zachary inhaled this. He ate it more quickly and with more gusto than I have seen him eat a meal in recent history. You’d think I had set a plate of cookies down in front of him. He was not disappointed when we had leftovers the next day, either.

I’m submitting this post to Presto Pasta Nights (which I haven’t done in way too long!). It’s hosted this week by Tandy of Lavender & Lime.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy's Cooking Adventures September 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

This looks fabulous! Definitely a must try (I don’t like sweet/cinnamon-y main dishes either–ick!)

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Laura September 22, 2011 at 8:15 am

I know what I’m doing with the leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge. Opa!

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bellini September 22, 2011 at 8:28 am

Hurrah for pumpkin season!!!!

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Erica @ In and Around Town September 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

As a pumpkin lover this sounds perfect! Cannot wait to give this a go

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Chelsea September 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I feel wary of savory pumpkin dishes too… but this looks pretty irresistible!

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Mushrooms Canada September 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

YUM! Pumpkin is definitely one of those things I look forward to in the Fall. I think I would make mine with a little gorgonzola, because I like the bite!
- Brittany

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Tandy September 23, 2011 at 12:50 am

I must try some pumpkin in a sweet form :) Thanks for taking part in this weeks PPN.

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Joanne September 23, 2011 at 5:38 am

There are definitely pumpkin dishes that are supposed to be savory but taste like pie…and then there are those with robust savory flavor like this! It sounds like such a great meal! I love baking AND cooking with pumpkin and this is so being added to my menu!

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Anne September 23, 2011 at 7:08 am

This looks great! I’m still hunting for pumpkin puree but once I find it, I’ll have to make this!

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Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul September 23, 2011 at 7:13 am

I love this Elly! I think evaporated milk is a great substitute for creamy style sauces…and the pumpkin works so well here.

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myFudo September 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I’ve never had this but my does it look good, This is my first time am hearing about it and would definitely love to try it out, thanks for sharing. Love the photo

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The Food Hunter September 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Love this time of year and all of the pumpkin recipes floating around. this is a good one.

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Jana September 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Looks fabulous! A vegetarian dish where you won’t even miss the meat.

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Cara September 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Your son has great taste, obviously :)

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Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen September 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I’m in love with pumpkin pasta!

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Sarah September 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I made this for dinner tonight–SO GOOD. I used spinach because that’s what I had around the house and ruined any chance at this being healthy by adding bacon. It was a filling and yummy end to a day that included a LIONS WIN! (haha not sure if you’re a football fan or not, but since you’re from michigan like me, thought you might be :)) Thanks for sharing this and all your other great recipes!

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elly September 26, 2011 at 7:34 am

Happy you liked it, Sarah! I must admit I’m not huge into football, BUT I love hockey and am a big, big, BIG Wings fan. :)

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Nicole, RD September 26, 2011 at 6:36 am

After making (and loving) pumpkin lasagna last year, I’ve been on the look-out for more pumpkin pasta recipes. I love that this uses sage…1) because pumpkin and sage go so well together and 2) my garden has sage growing like crazy still! Thanks!

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Ruth September 27, 2011 at 4:37 am

What a heavenly Fall dish! And even though pumpkin isn’t usually my favorite ingredient for savory either… everything else is and put it all together, you have a brilliant winner! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. It’s great to see you back.

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Alice September 27, 2011 at 11:07 am

Made this Monday night for a quick, vegetarian dinner and we loved it! Didn’t miss the meat at all and loved the subtle fall flvaors. I added a pinch of red pepper flakes (I can’t help myself sometimes) and I think next time I might increase the pumpkin a little, but really it was lovely as is.

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elly September 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

Happy you enjoyed it, Alice!

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Charlene Austin September 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I’m on my way to the kitchen to make this right now! I couldn’t find pumpkin puree (only pie mix) this trip to the grocery store but I have some frozen sweet potato puree I will use. Can’t wait!

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Ranjani October 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

This looks delicious! I also don’t like when pumpkin dishes are too sweet (unless they are dessert of course), but this sounds like a perfect blend of flavors

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