Archive for November, 2010

If you like pumpkin…..pumpkin pie and pecans…this is another one of those “I LOVE IT” recipes. Even better is the addition of whipped cream – insanity on a plate.

If you don’t care for pecans use less…..and pick them out of your piece (they are only on top). If you like pecans definitely use more…they take on a candied consistency…all I wanna do is pick them all off the cake and eat them as is!

Note: Bundt pan required.

Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake

1 cup chopped pecans
1 2/3 cups brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup butter, softened (can replace with canola oil)
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups roasted pumpkin puree (canned works)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp each baking soda and ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and allspice

On baking sheet toast pecans in 350F oven until fragrant about 5-8 minutes, let cool. In small bowl stir pecans with 2 tbsp brown sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over greased & flour dusted bundt pan. Set aside.

Meanwhile back at the ranch beat remaining brown sugar with butter. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in oil until fluffy. Finally add pumpkin and beat until smooth.

Next bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt, nutmeg and allspice. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Pour into pan, tap on counter and smooth top.

Bake in 350F until tooth pick comes out clean….approx. 50 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool in pan 10-15 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool.

Try not to eat it all at one serving…and did I mention it tastes amazing with whipping cream?! ūüėČ

Photos: early on my camera wasn’t so good…or maybe it was the photographer.¬† But here are 2 photos from the last time I made this recipe (drooling).

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A subtle hint was dropped last week that there was too much pasta on the menu. My response “definitely no Italian in your blood and suck it up because that’s the number one choice of the little people”. Suffice to say we went through a week of baked potatoes and now are back to having pasta in the rotation. Another hint came this week in that perhaps less tomato (healthy) based sauces and more alfredo (fattening) sauces would make the pasta more appealing. Wanting to please everyone I conceded…and this was the result.

Approx. 45 minutes from start to finish.

Alfredo Style Baked Shells with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta

1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 – 3/4 cup pancetta (thicker slices cube it, thinner slices cut into strips)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups frozen peas
White Sauce (recipe below)
1 pkg (400-500g) pasta shells

White Sauce
This is your basic bechamel sauce. You can modify it very easily to suit your taste (add in different cheeses) and/or change it up each time. This version is also on the thinner side as it does thicken while being baked.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk (we use 2%)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp (or more) garlic powder (in this recipe I prefer powder to minced)
salt & pepper to taste

In saucepan make your rioux by melting butter in saucepan…med high heat.¬† Add flour and cook for approx. 1 minute without browning.¬† Whisk in milk, cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper bringing to a boil.¬†I throw in a handful of parmesan at this point and mix until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approx. 10 minutes. Sauce will thicken slightly.

The main event

In small saucepan melt butter over med-high heat.  Fry bread crumbs, stirring until crisp and golden about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp of  parmesan cheese.  Put aside.

In second saucepan cook pancetta and onion until bacon crisp and onion softened.¬† Add in garlic and cook for another minute or so.¬† Stir in peas and white sauce…combining everything and simmering for 2 minutes.

At the same time in a pot of boiling water get your pasta cooking and cook until just slightly under cooked.  Drain, return to pot.

Toss together pasta, pancetta mixture and remaining parmesan cheese.  Pour into greased casserole dish (8 inch approx).  Sprinkle with toasted bread crumb mixture.

Bake in 350 oven until pasta is bubbly, 20-30 minutes.

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