This week I decided we’d stick with a seasonal dinner. Everywhere you go these days you see piles of pumpkins so I thought we should incorporate pumpkin into our Sunday Night Dinner. Pumpkin is filled with antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E and it is a great low calorie vegetable often recommended by professionals for lowering cholesterol and weight. I love pumpkin pie but I have never really explored other recipes or ideas for using it. This week, instead of pumpkin pie, we had a pumpkin, sausage and lacinato kale pasta dish.
For our starter, I took a recipe from a cookbook I received when we were on the cruise ship last month. HollandAmerica had a recipe competition where they asked guests to submit recipes that we felt were worthy of winning their contest. They didn’t tell us what the prize was but I thought for fun I’d submit my Lamb Tagine recipe and voila, I won the contest! For winning the contest I received a new cookbook called “A Taste of Celebration” by Rudi Sodamin. Rudi is a Master Chef and the most highly decorated chef working on the world’s oceans. This week I decided to make a recipe he suggests as one of the courses for a Thanks Giving Feast. It was Bibb Lettuce Salad with Oranges, Fennel and Green Goddess Dressing – definitely a recipe I’ll make again!
The salad contrasts sweet and salty with creamy and tangy.
Green Goddess Dressing:
- 1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
- 2 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
- 3 small scallions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar (I didn’t have this so I used white wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons sour cream (I used Goat Greek Yogurt here)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a blender or food processor, puree the mayonnaise, anchovies, scallions, parsley, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and sour cream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 5 oranges
- 2 heads Bibb Lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed and dried
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise very thinly (I used my mandolin and it worked like a charm)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish.
- With a sharp knife, trim the top and bottom from each orange. Stand them upright and cut downward to remove the rind and pith in thick strips. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the segments. Cover the orange segments with plastic wrap and reserve.
- Divide the lettuce leaves among the six plates. In large bowl combine the orange pieces and fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Place a portion of the fennel orange mixture on each plate of lettuce and top with Green Goddess Dressing, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Pasta with Pumpkin, Sausage and Lacinato.
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (I purchased both mild Italian and Spicy Italian sausages)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced and chopped
- 3 cups peeled, diced seeded pumpkin
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Marjoram
- 1-1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 bunch Lacinato Kale trimmed, ribs removed, leaves cut into bite sized pieces.
- 8 oz. dried pasta (we used gluten free pasta)
- ½ cup cream cheese (we used tofutti cream cheese)
- ½ cup grated Romano cheese
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Lacinato Kale (looks like romaine lettuce)
- Slice the sausages into bit size pieces and place in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the sausage until browned – 5-7 minutes. Depending on how much fat is in the sausages, add the olive oil in the center of the pan and place the chopped onions in the middle of the pan pushing the sausages towards the outside. Cook the onions until they are soft and slightly browned – this should take about 5-6 minutes.
- Put a large pot of well salted water on the stove set on high and boil over high heat. Once the water boils, add the pasta making sure the boiling does not stop. Stir the pasta in the pan and cook according to the directions on the package just until el dente. (this should take about 12-14 minutes)
- Once onions are browned, add the chopped pumpkin, wine, garlic, Marjoram, and cook until the wine evaporates. Add 2/3 cup of chicken broth and cook until the pumpkin is almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add the kale and remaining broth, cover and cook for 5 minutes until both vegetables are soft.
- Add the cream cheese and stir until melted in the pan. Finish off with salt and pepper to taste.
- When Pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the rest off, rinse the pasta once or twice to get rid of the sticky residue. Add the pasta to the frying pan with the sausage and vegetables with enough pasta water to make the sauce the right consistency.
- Place a serving on each plate and top with additional grated Romano cheese.
- Enjoy this dish! I bet your friends and family will love it!
I have to say I was a bit lazy on the desert side this week. I found some fabulous Sorbetto – lemon flavour and mango flavour so we had a scoop of each and it was a light and tasty desert.
I would definitely serve this meal to friends. Mom who is not really a pasta person actually took a doggie bag home this week. I think she liked it.
For those of you who are interested, I am putting a small cookbook together. It’s a book with some of my favorite gluten-free treats for Christmas. I have figured out how to make treats for Christmas gluten-free so that our non gluten-free guests won’t even be able to tell the difference. Included in the book with be melt in your mouth GF shortbread cookies, GF Christmas Cake (like the traditional fruit cake), GF Christmas Carrot Pudding, GF turkey stuffing and several more. We’re hoping to have it ready for distribution next month so stay tuned!
Look for next week’s dinner. Right now I have no idea what it will be but I’m sure it will be delicious.