Weeknight Sprinting

After the holidays are done and there's an attempt to find a winter routine, making dinner happen in the middle of the week can feel exhausting if you don't plan ahead. Try not to fall back to frozen pizza or jars of tomato sauce. It's easy, with a little planning ahead, to have a dinner like this on the table in about 15 minutes:

This post isn't about pasta. Use whatever kind of pasta you like. This is about the sauce. Get that together, spoon it over the pasta of your choice, and garnish it however you'd like. Pumpkin plays well with a wide variety of cheeses, fresh or fried sage, crumbled bacon, and even shredded chicken. You can tweak things in a lot of different ways to make this your own. I'm just interested in showing you how quickly a decadent sauce can come together and define a meal.

And the answer is: in about 15 minutes. You can't bake a frozen pizza or even have a pizza delivered in that much time! You can use fresh roasted pumpkin if you have it on hand, but a can of pumpkin puree will also do the trick and is true to the goal of keeping things simple for this sauce. I've also found just using a container of crumbled bleu cheese works beautifully. If you really hate bleu cheese, you could substitute feta cheese or goat cheese for this recipe, but I really think the bleu cheese adds a great flavor to the dish and pairs beautifully with the pumpkin. Give it a try before you discounts its value in this dish!

Pumpkin-Bleu Cheese Sauce

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1-2 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 4 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4-1/2 c. half & half
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

In a skillet, melt the butter and add the pumpkin and cream cheese. Stir over medium heat until the cream cheese is melted and incorporated into the pumpkin. Add the bleu cheese crumbles and enough half & half to achieve your desired sauce consistency. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and serve the sauce over your favorite pasta.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

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