This rich and hearty main course is simply perfect for the months when the weather gets a bit chilly. It features two Autumnal flavors--pumpkin and pecan--that work beautifully together to create a tasty pasta that is as creamy as traditional fettuccine Alfredo, but completely dairy-free!
Serve this dish as a hearty main or a unique side; since it uses canned pumpkin as part of the base, you can enjoy it any time of year! And the best part is, it takes only a few minutes of both cooking and prep, so you can have this dish ready in well under 30 minutes!
I recommend using a high speed blender to get the creamiest consistency in the sauce, but any blender or even food processor will work here as well.
- 16 ounces penne pasta (you can use any other type of pasta you'd like: spirals, elbow macaroni, even spaghetti!)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 small onion, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons grated)
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil, such as olive or canola
- 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 additional teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk, such as almond, soy, hemp, cashew
- 2/3 cup whole pecans
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. If you are using gluten-free pasta, be sure to rinse with cool water after cooking.
- After the pasta has cooked, return to the pot and stir in the 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Fold in gently to evenly coat the pasta.
- Sprinkle with black pepper and then set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- In a small saucepan (about 2 to 3 quarts) heat the minced garlic, grated onion, and 1 teaspoon cooking oil over medium-high heat until the garlic and onion are fragrant and slightly darker in color, about four minutes.
- Stir often so as not to burn the garlic and onion.
- Add the canned pumpkin, nutritional yeast flakes, and salt and warm gently over low heat about five minutes.
- Transfer the pumpkin sauce mixture to a high-speed blender and add the pecans. (You may need to allow the sauce to cool briefly before proceeding.)
- Blend the mixture until the sauce is completely smooth, stopping and scraping the sides of the blender as needed.
- Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and stir gently to completely coat.
- Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.
For easy make ahead, prepare only the sauce and transfer to a freezer-safe container or baggy. Warm gently over medium-low heat and add to cooked pasta for a simple weekday dinner!