#meatlessmonday Meets the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative Recipe 15: Pumpkin Bechamel

Shawna Coronado's Pumpkin Harvest
Shawna Coronado's Pumpkin Harvest

Also, happy World Pasta Day!  Good grief, so much going on.  We better get right into

Penne with Basil and Pumpkin Bechamel

Wow…so let’s see…  This recipe is my #meatlessmonday post for Meatless Monday. 

It’s also the last of the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking recipes for this year (boo!  I know, I’m bummed.)  I’d team up with the awesome Shawna Coronado for any cooking challenge anywhere and I am going to miss all her delicious veggies.  Still, as winter touches the Midwest, all her nude (no chemicals) eco-friendly veggies are going away and without the veggies, it’s hard to feed a family of four for less then $10.50! 

But, if she’s up for it, I’m would love to see a 2010 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative!

Oh, and before I forget,  it’s also World Pasta Day, which can only be celebrated by eating pasta.  Which is how we get to this crazy recipe  I dreamed up. 

Making Penne with Basil and Pumpkin Bechamel

This recipe is going to be a tiny bit time consuming since we’re going to make our own pumpkin puree with fresh out-of-the-garden pumpkin.  You can substitute canned, but it won’t be as good or as cheap!  After that, it’s merely a case of making the bechamel and eating.

You will need:

  • 1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin (free from Shawna’s garden)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (free for the challenge)
  • Salt and pepper (free for the challenge)
  • 1 package penne ($3.00)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (50 cents)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (free for the challenge)
  • 3 cups heavy cream at room temperature ($5.00)
  • Pinch of nutmeg (25 cents)
  • 4-6 leaves basil, sliced thinly (free from Shawna’s garden)

That’s a total of $8.75!  Another successful challenge.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and coat with olive oil.  Then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Put the pumpkin on a cookie sheet cut side down and roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender.  Then remove from the oven.

Once it’s cool enough, peel the pumpkin, cut it into chunks and puree in the food processor.  If the puree is too thick, you can loosen it with a little water, broth, or cream.  Add a little extra salt and taste for flavor.  It’s not going to taste like pie or anything because it’s not seasoned for that.  It should have a mild, earthly flavor instead.

Next, prepare the pasta to package directions in well salted water.  Remove while al dente.

When the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over a medium flame.  When the butter is melted, mix in the two tablespoons of flour to form a paste.  Continue to cook for about 30-60 seconds or until you get a nutty aroma.  Then pour in the room temperature cream and let it get warm.   Finally, add the pumpkin and let the sauce thicken.

Serve the sauce on the penne.  Top with basil.

And enjoy this final 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking recipe!


Leave a Reply