Pumpkin Pasta

Pasta–pumpkin combinations are overlooked but fabulous weeknight or special meals. Get pumpkin pasta recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
When I told George I was planning to share pumpkin pasta recipes this week, his reaction was, “Nice, I always forget about pairing pasta and pumpkin.” It’s a combination even I tend to overlook. Growing up, pumpkin was reserved for jack-o’-lanterns and pie, and other winter squash was served “on the half shell,” drowning in butter and brown sugar. But these winter staples store so well you should have a collection to use in many sweet and savory dishes all winter: cookies, quick bread, soup, risotto—and pasta.

I offer two variations on pumpkin pasta here, one suited to a weeknight meal and a fancier plate that takes a bit more time to put together. I encourage you to look more at the techniques and think outside the ingredients listed in the recipes. Any firm-fleshed winter squash can be used in either recipe, and aromatics, alliums, herbs, cheeses, and pasta shapes can all be changed to suit your tastes. Whatever you use, orange winter squash creates a delicious pasta meal.
Learn to make Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin and Parmesan and Pumpkin–Goat Cheese Ravioli with Butter–Nut Sauce

One Prep, Two Meals: Potatoes

Potato bowls travel well and fit my one prep, two meals plan. Get potato recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
A surprise project has me taking a break from preserving recipes this week: Waggoner Cruising Guide decided to publish a Twice as Tasty recipe. It’s online now and will appear in the annual guide and a cooking ebook next year. I’m so excited to share Twice as Tasty food with cruisers that this week’s post includes a paired recipe that I often make when we’re on the water.

The Waggoner Guide is considered the bible for Pacific Northwest cruising. It’s flagship tome, updated annually, has been guiding marine travelers for 25 years. You’d be hard-pressed to find a boater from the Puget Sound to Alaska who doesn’t have a copy.

For Waggoner, I chose a recipe that I make almost every time we spend a few days aboard a sailboat: potato bowls. This variation on stuffed baked potatoes doesn’t need an oven. They also fit my one prep, two meals plan, with extra potatoes rolling into a next-day salad with minimal effort. And some prep tricks make both dishes ideal for outdoor adventures.
Learn to make Potato Bowl with Black Bean Sauté and Quick Potato Salad

Tomatoes

Grilling and preserving pair perfectly, and their advantages stretch far beyond flavor. Get grilled tomato recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
You’ve probably noticed that I love grilled vegetables. I also love home-canned goods, and the techniques of grilling and preserving pair together perfectly. The advantages of grilling for canning stretch far beyond flavor, particularly for tomatoes.

Grilling combined with freezing makes it easy to start processing vegetables as they ripen throughout the growing season, making preserving seem more like a habit than a chore. During tomato season, we pull the ripest fruit from the vine every few days. That evening, we fire up the grill and cook off a rack or two of tomatoes; the hot halves go straight into a colander set over a large bowl to drain off the juice—usually while we’re enjoying a grilled dinner. Once they’re cool, I pour the separated solids and juice into separate containers, weighing and labeling each before adding them to the freezer.

When the freezer’s full, I have two products ready for processing: solids and juice. Because the juice was drained off, any sauce or salsa doesn’t have to cook for hours to thicken. Because the solids have already been pulled out of the juice, I can quickly apply it to any recipe, from beverage to soup. In just a couple of hours, I can have several canner batches processed for long-term storage. The freezer is ready for the next round of preserving, and the canning shelves are full of delicious fire-roasted flavors.
Learn to make Grilled Tomato Pasta Sauce and Tomato Juice Soup

Pears

Lower-sugar, fruit-forward spreads easily last a couple of weeks in the fridge once open. Get pear recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with many ways to preserve pears. They don’t keep as well in dry storage as apples, and I rarely used them when frozen, so they don’t yet have a home on my quick-save list. Dehydrating works well if you want them for backpacking or snacks. My mom always canned them in syrup when I was growing up, and when I have a bumper crop I’ll put up a few jars in brandy syrup or lightly sweetened pickle brine.

Mostly I save pears as preserves. The first time I made marmalade with ginger and pears, I followed a Ball recipe that used 1 part sugar to 2 parts fruit and found it to be overly sweet. I’ve since discovered that because the natural acidity of pears makes them safely shelf stable, the sugar primarily keeps the jam from molding once it’s open and sitting in the fridge. By melding Ball’s recipe with other lower-sugar versions, I came up with a fruit-forward marmalade that easily lasts a couple of weeks in the fridge once open, as well as a jam that pairs pears with tart cranberries.
Learn to make Pear–Ginger Marmalade and Pear–Cranberry Jam