Sunday, December 4, 2011

Slow-cooked Sunday

Today is the first slow cooked Sunday post. This doesn't mean I'm cooking meals in the slow cooker. These will mostly be recipes I've acquired that take just a little too much time to cook on a weeknight.

Bacon and Pumpkin Pasta. I thought this sounded just intriguing enough to try. Pumpkin is delicious in pies, cheesecakes, and muffins. It goes down quite easily in latte form. We all know this. But since it's a vegetable...fruit...both?....I'm always looking to try recipes that feature pumpkin in the main dish instead of dessert.

This recipe could easily be adapted to a quick, weeknight meal that cooks in about 20 minutes. I'm calling it a slow-cooked meal because we added caramlized onions, which take about 30-40 minutes to cook on their own. Additionally, if you were to make these at the same time as everything else, it would take 3 or 4 pans total. Personally I like to keep my weeknight meals cooked in 2 pans or less if possible.

C and I really enjoyed this. The cream cheese and garlic offset the pumpkin flavor just enough to keep it from being overwhelming. We would make it again.

Bacon and Pumpkin Pasta with Caramalized Onions
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

2 cups dry whole grain elbow pasta
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tabelspoons light cream cheese
1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
6 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
1/2 large onion sliced thinly
1 teaspoon of butter or oil

1. To caramelize the onions, heat the oil or butter in a skillet until butter is melted or oil is hot. Add onions to the pan and stir them to coat in butter/oil. Allow them to cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't stir too often or they won't brown. Leave them to stick to the pan a little and brown, but stir enough that they don't burn.

2. Cook bacon until it is crisp enough to crumble. Remove from pan and set on paper towels to soak up extra grease.

3. While the bacon is cooking, start boiling water to cook the pasta. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and return to the pan. Reduce heat to low.

4. Add pumpkin through salt and pepper on the ingredient list and stir until the cream cheese is melted and mixture is warmed through.

5. Divide between two bowls and top with crumbled bacon and caramelized onions.

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