As an expat you often get nostalgic for traditions and foods from your old life: Fourth of July parties in Coronado, driving by Candy Cane Lane at Christmas to see the twinkling lights, Burgers and chocolate milk shakes. Fish Tacos after work.
But at Thanksgiving there really is just nothing that compares – stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, family drama, time off work. It’s all missing here.
So I try making new traditions – and since food here is very seasonal in it’s availability, I am jumping into pumpkin season… And reminding myself that I have never liked pumpkin pie so why miss it? It’s one of the silver-linings of expat life… no pumpkin to ruin my pie.
What do you DO then with pumpkin?
Well, who knew there is SO many options!
My dadz started the ‘introduction’ this season with incredibly Ginger-Lemon-Grass-Pumpkin Soup… served, naturally inside the pumpkin… and with a silver spoon. Naturally.
I’m working on getting the recipe from their recipe vaults :)
And I tried my hand at a Pumpkin Pasta Bake – easy to make and very yummy! (And don’t take just my word for it – my dinner guests the other night asked for seconds! Hmm… maybe they were just being polite?)
Here’s the recipe to play with:
300g penne rigate
1 small-ish pumpkin (chopped into small squares – not diced, but not too big)
3 teaspoons olive oil
About 3 slices of bacon (in the Netherlands they sell bacon already diced, and so one small contained of that… although I recommend only using half. Too much bacon overpowers)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 table spoon chopped sage (fresh preferably)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 inch of ginger grated
150 g of grated mild cheese
Pepper to taste – I use red pepper… couple twists of the grinder
(I have played around with this and also add in diced celery and red bell pepper for an extra flavor kick.)
– Sauté the bacon in the olive oil, add onion then your pumpkin and diced tomatoes. Add in your spices. Sauté for about 5 minutes.
– cook your pasta as per directions of your package (Cook on the low end of suggested time so slightly al dente still)
– Mix your cooked pasta and sauce mix together
– Pour the mix into an square or rectangular oven dish that has been prepped with butter. Then sprinkle cheese over the mix to cover.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 200° Celsius.