Pumpkin Peanut Pantry Pasta Recipe (Vegetarian)

I haven't grocery shopped yet this weekend, so I had to make a quick lunch from the pantry. I do this a lot- combining a bunch of random ingredients that are left in the back of the cupboard to make a meal, but this time it turned out pretty tasty, so I thought I would share what I made! This can also be made vegetarian or even vegan pretty easily.

Pumpkin Peanut Pantry Pasta

I'm not sure if it looks like much, but it was yummy!

1 lb pasta, cooked per package instructions (I used spaghetti, but any will work)
frozen corn (any frozen veg would work)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a jalapeno that was leftover from some other recipe, minced
Oil for cooking (I used veg. oil, but you could use any oil)
1 can broth or 2 cups water (use veggie broth if you're a vegetarian)
1 can pumpkin (not pie filling)
Peanut Butter
soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

Everyone has a can of pumpkin that is sadly hanging out in the back of the cupboard, leftover from the holidays (right?). I personally ran out of baking steam before I ran out of pumpkin. But I have found that it goes well in pasta sauces and soups to kind of thicken them up. I added it to this recipe mainly because the sauce without it "needed something," and I really liked the outcome.

First, start the pasta per package instructions by boiling it for the length of time necessary. In the last minute of cooking, throw the frozen veg in there. You don't really need to cook frozen veggies very long- just long enough to heat them up. When that's done, just drain it and put it back in the pot you cooked it in, or in a large bowl. You will be mixing it with the sauce.

After you get the pasta started, start the sauce. I put some cooking oil in a pan, maybe 2 tablespoons, and cooked the garlic and jalapeno in that oil over medium-low heat. You don't want to burn the garlic or else it will taste bitter. After it's been cooking for a couple of minutes, add the broth*, pumpkin and peanut butter. I didn't measure the PB, but I used a soup spoon and just put in a couple big spoonfuls. Add a couple of glugs of soy sauce and the tablespoon of sugar and just cook the whole thing over medium heat, whisking until it is smooth.

*I used chicken broth because that's what I had, but this could easily be made with veggie broth, or in a pinch  you could use a couple of cups of the pasta cooking water or just plain water. If you use water, you'll want to taste it to make sure the sauce is seasoned enough and add more seasoning if not.

This is sort of a lazy Asian-inspired dish because of the combination of garlic, soy, and peanut butter. If you had more Asian ingredients available, you could round it out with more seasonings and ingredients to make it more like a real Thai peanut sauce. But I don't have a full Asian pantry, so this is what we ate. It was really hearty and yummy, and might even be a good lower-cholesterol replacement for something like mac and cheese or alfredo.

I feel really satisfied and I started the meal looking at the cupboards thinking they were bare! What do you make when the pantry is bare?

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