Birthdays come and go, but the need for a handy cooking hack and a quick meal is always with us – so try my Pumpkin, Sage, Chicken and Spinach Pasta Recipe.
A week or two ago I was surprised by a message from a reader congratulating me on the birthday of this blog.
I wasn’t surprised that I’d forgotten the birthday myself – I don’t think I’ve remembered it much at all over the years – but I was surprised to discover that I’ve been sharing my thoughts and experiences with you for eight years now!
Such a lot has changed in that time – kids have moved out (and back in, then out again), dogs have come and gone, wrinkles and grey hairs have come and stayed, and food blogging has changed too. Many have fallen by the wayside, being replaced by the growth of living colour Instagram accounts, featuring vibrant and desirable food images which leave us all drooling.
When I first began writing, my focus was on local food producers – and that much hasn’t changed. I still find those who commit their time, money and lives to producing the very best food products utterly inspiring and I never grow tired of sharing their stories. Happily, that inclination struck a chord and the passion to support our local producers has caught on in a big way, with the profile of local food heroes growing distinctly.
However, with the support of many in the travel industry, this blog has morphed into just as much a travel journal as a food chronicle, giving me the opportunity to get out of our back yard and meet local food heroes all over the world.
So I guess that’s how I’ll keep going – travelling, meeting inspiring food champions and sharing the stories with you.
In between times, I’ll continue to share the odd recipe of my own. I still love to cook and, with a family old enough to feed themselves now, I get to branch out beyond the scope of whatever will appeal to the fussers, pleasing myself and The Bloke with what I cook. Sometimes that is something slightly exotic, and sometimes it is simply something fresh and tasty.
This Pumpkin, Sage, Chicken and Spinach Pasta Recipe falls into the latter category. It began with an idea I saw in the February 2018 delicious. Magazine to bake a pumpkin whole. When I read this I had one of those head-smacking, why-didn’t-I-think-of-this moments. It’s so simple to do and makes forward planning for meals much easier.
Simply preheat your oven to 180C, bung an entire butternut pumpkin in, on a tray, and cook for 2-3 hours, or until it’s soft and squishy. Then cut it in half, cool, and puree the flesh in the processor. Pop it into the fridge or freezer and pull it out at your convenience for soup, dips, baking – or this delicious pasta dinner.
Pumpkin, Sage, Chicken and Spinach Pasta Recipe
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 500 gms pasta I used penne
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 100 gms baby spinach
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 50 mls olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves finely chopped
- zest of one lemon
- 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs or same amount of toasted, roughly chopped walnuts
- Cook pasta according to directions, drain, reserve 1/2 - 1 cup of cooking liquid.
- Heat oil in a large pan, add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for further minute or two.
- Add chicken, pumpkin puree, sage and pasta cooking water, stir gently until heated through and slightly thickened. Add pasta and spinach, stir for a minute or two until spinach is wilted.
- Add cheese, stir to combine, then add lemon zest.
- Season to taste
- Serve in pasta bowls, sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs and extra lemon zest or toasted nuts.