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Salt and Stone: It's pumpkin season; try this tasty pasta dish

creamy pumpkin pasta

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Bacon, Kale and Mushrooms. Nice dish, too!

We harvested the last of the pumpkins and squash from our garden last weekend. They are piled into the front loader of my husband’s tractor, bright and cheerful, ranging in every color from dusty blue-green, yellow and a bright reddish orange.

My mother handed me a few pumpkin starts she grew in her greenhouse toward the end of last winter and I didn’t think anything of it as I planted them in my own garden. I assumed I was planting orange carving pumpkins. It was such a delight to watch white, green, yellow, blue and pink pumpkins sprout on the vine.

I need to unload them now and decorate my front doorstep, but they look so beautiful all piled up together, I’m having a hard time getting motivated. I’m sure as the next weekend rolls around and my husband wants to put his tractor to use, I’ll have no choice.

Since I’ve got pumpkins on the brain, this week’s recipe is fitting with its savory pumpkin perfection. I make a fair amount of sweet treats with pumpkin: bread, muffins and pie, but I am trying my hand at experimenting with more savory flavors and good-for-you ingredients. Pumpkin is a treasure trove of nutrients, fiber and vitamins and an easy (also slightly sneaky) flavor to incorporate into lots of different dishes.

For this dish I sautéed onion, garlic, mushrooms and kale. I made the pumpkin cream sauce right in the pan with the vegetables. Combined with pasta, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a little fresh sage, this dinner was gobbled up by everyone in the family. My kids, of course, picked around some of the kale and mushrooms. But, I loved the dish for its hearty filling flavors and the fact that dinner came together in 30 minutes.

• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Bacon, Kale and Mushrooms

5 strips bacon sliced into 1/2 inch strips

1 medium sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounce container of sliced white mushrooms

1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon fresh sage minced

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 pound pasta

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium-heat until cooked through and crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper-towel lined plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion to the pan, cooking for five minutes or until the onion is translucent and soft. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the mushrooms and kale to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook the vegetables for five to eight minutes or until the mushrooms and kale have reduced and the mushrooms are golden and tender. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir in pumpkin and cream, salt and pepper. Add the bacon to the pan. Turn heat off to the sauté pan.

In a separate pot, boil water for the pasta. Salt the boiling water and cook pasta to the package instructions, draining the water once the pasta is al dente. Combine the pasta with the pumpkin sauce and vegetables. Give the dish a good stir so the ingredients are well-incorporated. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh sage and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

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