Yeah! My favorite holiday is upon us!
Wait, you don't think Halloween is a holiday? Oh, pa-lease.
It's only the best one out there. I mean, when else do you have the opportunity to dress up as a creepy zombie, slutty nurse, or scary witch? Unless of course, you're into that kind of thing and you don't need Halloween?
I love everything about this day - the crazy costumes, the decorations, the parties, the kids, handing out candy (although I do miss going trick-or-treating myself), and of course, the pumpkins. Oh, do I LOVE the pumkins!!!
Photo courtesy of Ray Villafane via The Today ShowSeriously, what some people can do with these wonderful gourds is downright crazy. And if you don't believe me, you've so got to check out this fab site: Ray Villafane. This man can carve a pumpkin like none other!
Photo courtesy of Ray Villafane via The Today ShowHe was even invited to the White House last year to carve the pumkins for the Obama family - and this year is in Vegas, carving the lot for Heidi Klum's big Halloween par-tay.
Not too shabby, I'd say.
And with all this excitment, I actually don't mind being in the office today. Because I know I get to go home and get the house ready - and I'm excited for my super easy, but yum-o dinner, which even that, is pumkin inspired (courtesy of Everyday Food, November Winter 2007, with a little doctoring on my part):
Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
Canned pumpkin puree isn't only good for pie; here, it becomes a creamy sauce for penne, topped with deliciously crunchy fried sage leaves.
I've changed up this recipe by adding ground chicken and changing it from Rosemary to Sage leaves (as I think sage tastes so much better with pumpkin!).
- Prep Time10 minutes
- Total Time30 minutes
- YieldServes 4
- 12 ounces penne rigate (ridged), or other short pasta
- Coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves
- 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.
- In a separate saute pan, brown ground chicken with salt & pepper to taste (I like to add some of the red-pepper flakes here).
- In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add sage leaves and fry, stirring, until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sage leaves to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
- Carefully (oil is hot and will spatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half (you'll want to warm this first, to avoid curddling the cream), Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried sage leaves and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.
Frying sage leaves in olive oil not only turns the herb into a crispy garnish -- it also infuses the oil to create a tasty base for the pumpkin sauce.
And what is everyone else doing today? Stuck at work? Dressed up? Taking the kids out? Going to a party?
Whatever it is, I hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween, stays safe, and gets pillow-cases full of candy! Because after all, there's nothing scarier than the day after Halloween...that means Christmas is only 55 days away. Yikes.