One of the best parts of living in the same city as our undergraduate university is the fact that we continue to be surrounded by friends we’ve known for years – some of them for more than a decade. And one of the best traditions to come from our long stint in this city is an annual Piesgiving, hosted by our friends J & N. This tradition has its roots in a meatball cook-off nine years ago, and has since evolved into less of a competition and more of an excuse to get together before Thanksgiving and stuff our faces with pie instead of dinner.
As soon as bright orange cans of pumpkin start gracing the grocery store shelves, the Husband starts slowly, and then more incessantly, requesting pumpkin pie. I have been making him one of these at least once a year for the past 7 or 8 years, sometimes tweaking the recipe, sometimes making a homemade crust, and sometimes combining with other ingredients, such as sweet potato. The original (from the back of a can!), though, tends to be the favorite. This year, I was majorly excited to use my new pie crust shield (thanks, wedding registry!). The look of sheer joy and delight on his face makes it worth it every time, despite the fact that I don’t even like pumpkin pie. Now that’s love. He just has to share with the rest of the Piesgiving crew.
Husband’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin filling)
1 can evaporated milk
1 unbaked and unsweetened pie crust, brought to room temperature (can make your own, use a graham cracker crust, whatever you prefer)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Roll out the pie crust in a 9 inch or so pie dish. (Do not prick the crust).
Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. In a separate, large bowl, beat the eggs together and then stir in pumpkin, the spice mixture, and the evaporated milk.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie dish; you may have a bit of extra. Don’t overfill the crust or it may bubble into your oven and likely burn…setting your fire alarm off…(not that this has ever happened…). If not using a crust shield, cover the crusts with aluminum foil before you stick it in the oven (this is so you don’t burn yourself later!).
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
Take the pie out, and if using a crust shield, now’s a good time to place it over the pie crust. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and return the pie to the oven to bake for another 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven.
Cool for about two hours and serve warm OR cold (the Husband prefers his cold, for breakfast).
A Note About Menu Planning This Week:
While it feels good to be back in the kitchen again, I’m taking off for a work trip on Tuesday afternoon…which means there’s no menu plan for this week. (Caveat: the Husband has a plan that involves lots of Italian – pizza, pasta, and stromboli, which I hope he’ll post as his work schedule allows).
That being said, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend, and so I’ll be updating recipes on here throughout the week.
I have been looking forward to today’s lunch out with my friend all week. As a mom who stays home most days, it is pretty easy to get cabin fever. I spend a lot of time at parks trying to make other mom friends. This video perfectly describes me most days.
Having lunch out with twin toddlers can be hectic, but it is good for the soul. The best part, hands down, is not having to clean the floor. This may sound silly, but cleaning the floor is my own personal torture. It is the ultimate Sisyphean task, since you clean it up just to have it get completely trashed again in a matter of hours.
Of course, JJ woke up from his nap with a fever, so I had to cancel lunch. I felt like a kid who had just found out Santa was not real – totally heartbroken.
The good news is that I knew tonight’s dinner would cheer me up. Pumpkin pasta is an October tradition in the Buckley household. It seems like a strange blend of flavors, but it is autumn in a bowl. This recipe is adapted from 30 Minute Meals by Rachel Ray, a gift I got upon graduating from college. At the time I thought I would hate the cookbook, but I there are actually quite a few great go-to recipes that I’ve found in it.
Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 pound mushrooms, can be white, shitake, or Portobello. Or a mix.
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 14 oz can canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
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 garnish
Chives for garnish (optional)
Boil water in a large pot, get the pasta cooking.
Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate.
Cook mushrooms, garlic, and onion with a small pat of butter (because why not?) until onions are tender
Return sausage to the pan.
Add wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 5 minutes.
Add sage, stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Reduce heat, simmer mixture 10 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.
Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. S
Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. 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.
You know how taste can evoke such powerful memories? The taste of this pasta brings me back 7 years to when my husband (then boyfriend) and I were first living together in a spacious but old apartment in DC. We made this pasta for our little family, which at the time consisted of the two of us and our bachelor third roommate. Making this always makes me thankful for my close family and dear friends. It is always good to end the day on a happy note!