pumpkin surprise

February 8, 2005

so as much as i do hate rotating so damn much, i’m thinking about putting myself through the routine just one last time, during the months of april and may. i spoke to a couple of people that i respect greatly (one graduate student from the lab i’m in now, one from the first lab), and both had similar things to say: it’s very unlikely that i would regret doing a third rotation, but it’s certainly possible that i might regret not doing one.

so fine.

i guess i just need to see it less as ‘ahhhhhhhhh when do i get to start for realllllllllll’ and more ‘heh, this is the last time ever i can really play around in lab without any real stress.’ after all, no one expects much from a rotation student. and rightly so, since they go around doing things like busting their cells open with distilled water.

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i just made pumpkin-and-chicken-sausage-penne with sage, courtesy of rachael ray. it was really good, and best of all we have enough for mucho leftovers. in case anyone’s inspired to create this rather unusual pasta dish, here’s the recipe, including several of my daring adjustments and substitutions:

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes (underestimated, as usual. but not by too much)

Yield: 4 (enormous) servings (really more like 6+)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage i used chicken sausage, it worked out fine

4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf, fresh or dried

4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream i used nonfat plain yogurt mixed with a half tablespoon flour to prevent curdling, which is a new trick i just learned from the stoneyfield website. and it worked! hurrah!

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated

Coarse salt and black pepper

1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente

Romano or Parmigiano, for grating

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown slices of the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

and enjoy.


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