Friday, October 3, 2008

Fettuccine with Pumpkin, Shiitakes, and Mascarpone

I had a couple friends over last night for dinner and the debate. I decided to try a new recipe that I’ve had my eyes on for a couple years now—Fettuccine with Pumpkin, Shiitakes, and Mascarpone. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? And so seasonally appropriate?

I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t the easiest recipe I’ve ever made, and did take quite a bit of preparation and close to two hours to make (not to mention a near disaster with the blender). Without a doubt, the biggest pain was shelling the pumpkin seeds. Try it, you'll see. However, the dinner was delicious and unique, and my friends cleared their full-plate heapings of fettuccine in no time. I also served the pasta with homemade pumpkin bread, which was a nice touch as well. Luckily, I have leftovers for lunch today, and plenty of extra sauce at home.

Fettuccine With Pumpkin, Shiitakes, and Mascarpone
From Bon Appetit, September 1998
Makes 8 servings

4 cups 1/2-inch pieces seeded peeled fresh sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (from 1 1/2 pounds squash)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
1 pound fettuccine
2/3 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss pumpkin with olive oil in large bowl to coat. Transfer pumpkin to baking sheet. Bake until pumpkin is tender and beginning to brown, stirring once, about 30 minutes.

Transfer pumpkin to processor. Add 2 1/2 cups chicken stock. Puree until smooth. Add mascarpone cheese and ground cinnamon. Process to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups chicken stock. Boil until stock is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in pumpkin mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.)

Cook fettuccine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer fettuccine to large bowl. Add sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately.

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