Mondays are always tough, but the Monday after a long holiday weekend is especially brutal. It usually takes me half the day just to get past that vacation mentality and refocus on the task at hand. I know you can relate :)
Even if today is nowhere near as productive as I'd like it to be, I'll take some comfort in knowing that we put a serious dent in our to-do list this weekend. Long overdue home improvement projects tackled, Christmas shopping started, multiple birthdays celebrated, and a Breaking Bad marathon to cap it off. Oh, and we demolished the leftovers - not a single piece of turkey to be found in the house. Not bad, not bad at all.
Aside from popping the aforementioned leftovers in the microwave and whipping up some chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday morning, I spent almost no time in the kitchen the past few days. If my Instagram feed is any indication, I may have been the only one! So many of my friends seemed to use the time to get a jump start on their holiday baking, but with a whole week left until December arrives, I'm still not quite ready to go there yet.
Instead, I bought tortellini to make this pumpkin alfredo sauce just one more time this week. I hope you still have a can of pumpkin stashed away in your pantry because this is a can't-miss recipe! I was a little hesitant the first time I made it having never really used pumpkin in a savory dish before, but after a cautious first bite, I couldn't get enough. The thick and creamy alfredo sauce was a gorgeous orange color and though I could taste the pumpkin, it wasn't overwhelming. I've become fond of substituting Gruyère for the Parmesan the recipe originally called for - its earthiness really plays well. Ready in 20 minutes or less, this is a quick and easy weeknight dinner idea and I think we can all use a few more of those, especially as the busy holiday season approaches!
Tortellini With Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
adapted from Food Network Magazine, October 2012
2 (9 oz) packages cheese tortellini
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese, plus more for topping
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.
Meanwhile, add the butter to a large skillet set over medium heat. Let the butter melt, then add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree and nutmeg, cooking for about 1 minute, or until the moisture in the pumpkin has cooked off. Add the heavy cream and stir to incorporate, then bring the mixture to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and well combined - the sauce should be thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the tortellini to the sauce, stirring to coat. If desired, you can thin the alfredo sauce with the reserved cooking water. (The water also helps loosen things up if you let the pasta sit too long before serving.) Top individual bowls of the pasta with more cheese and the parsley before serving.