What’s for dinner: Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Click on the photo to go to the recipe on the Everyday Food website.

Pasta with pumpkin sauce? I was intrigued — I envisioned the silky sauce, rich with vegetal flavor and bolstered by cream. Ooh, what if it had tinges of sweetness, like pumpkin pie? It would be like dessert for dinner!  Or it could be like a great butternut squash soup. …

Cost of ingredients: $5.56. I already had the pasta, salt, olive oil, rosemary (growing like a weed in our back yard!), white wine vinegar and red pepper flakes.

Substitutions: Gluten-free pasta for Mr. Brooks (although, unwilling to bow to his concurrent dairy-free wishes, I did not switch out the Parmesan cheese or half-and-half).

As easy as they said? Indeed. I’m not sure exactly why frying the rosemary was such an important step, though: It turns the leaves brown (as the instructions note, but the photo above does not reflect) and it’s not as if the texture or flavor was that much more amazing than fresh.

How’d THAT go over? Another night of blandness. Remember, you’re using pumpkin puree, not pie filling, so anyone expecting any sort of sweetness will be disappointed. Nor does the sauce have any sort of vegetal flavor — you know it’s bad when you catch yourself wondering, “I bet even yams would have more taste.” How did I rescue it? Believe it or not, by stirring in Worcestershire sauce, which again provided the much-needed jolt to the taste buds. “You can even taste the rosemary now,” Mr. Brooks said.

Would I make it again? Nay. It wasn’t delicious—or even interesting.

WHAT SAM WORE: 03-17-10
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The sweater: Extra-fine merino wool V-neck vest from Uniqlo, New York.
The shirt: Long-sleeved cotton button-down from H&M, Scottsdale.
The pants: Boot-cut corduroys by 7 for All Mankind, from Last Chance.
The shoes: Leather slip-ons from Bacco Bucci, from Last Chance.

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