Pumpkin Penne with Pancetta 

So a few days ago, it felt like Fall. For about 5 minutes. Today, however, it was back to 88 degrees. It is supposed to be 90 on Halloween.

Ugh… If this is what people mean by “Southern California Weather” you can keep it. It was never like this growing up, so you know, global warming sucks.

Anyway, back to when it was nice and cool for a hot second. I took full advantage and made this yummy pumpkin pasta. I had the rest of the can of pumpkin that I used for the ravioli and turned it into this delicious sauce. Even though it has cinnamon and nutmeg, it wasn’t too sweet at all. It had the right amount of balance and the flavor was just warm and comforting.

Best of all, it hit the trifecta: Quick, easy, and my kids loved it! My husband even went back for a small third serving! I think it is safe to say, this was a winner.

4oz diced pancetta
1-2 cloves minced garlic1/4 of an onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1-1/2 cups milk (you can use cream or half & half if you want)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup walnuts or pecans with cinnamon and honey (optional)

In a pot, add your pancetta and a light dusting of ground cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring around, until crispy. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate and keep any fat that rendered out in the pot.

  To the rendered pancetta fat, add the garlic and onions. Saute until soft.
  Add about 1 T of flour and stir to make a little paste with the fat. You can a little olive oil if you don’t think there is enough. Stir in the pumpkin puree, milk nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well. Let the mixture come to a high simmer and then turn the heat down to low. This should allow it to thicken up nicely. Add the parmesan cheese. Taste it to see if you need to add any salt. I added a pinch but the parmesan is pretty salty, so it’s best to wait to see what you like.
  Add your cooked penne and mix well to coat the pasta with the sauce.  In a small pan, add your walnuts or pecans. Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon and drizzle with a little honey. Mix well and cook until heated through. This addition is optional. I really like the nuts mixed in, but my husband said he didn’t think the dish needed them. Your choice!
  Add the nuts and the pancetta into the pasta and stir to combine.
Eat up and send me pictures of Fall… at this rate we may not get one!

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