Dinners as a kid were simple. I didn’t spend the entire day pondering what I was going to make, nor did I have to cook it. I merely sauntered into the kitchen, settled down at the table, and Mother Cookie laid out a hot meal made with love. There was no decision-making to be done, no arguing over what would be served; whatever my mom made, we ate.
I have to confess, I wasn’t any less of an obnoxiously picky eater as a child than I am now, so I wasn’t always thrilled with what was put in front of me (my distaste for meat had already begun as a kid). Looking back, I was just damn lucky to have a home-cooked meal on the table every single night, a blessing that was as reliable for me as the sun rising in the morning. Not many people can say the same about their childhood. If I could tell my younger-self one thing, it’d be: Shut up and eat what your mother made. Not everyone gets a homecooked dinner, or dinner at all for that matter. Plus, in 10 years or so, you’ll have to watch what you put in your mouth and work out every day. Enjoy your metabolism, lil’ me.
One of Mother Cookie’s meals that I’d never complain about was her fettuccine Alfredo. It was a simple meal, good old fettucine doused in a 3-ingredient parmesan sauce. To me, it was the most delicious thing on the planet. On rare occasions, if weren’t having an actual sit-down dinner, I’d bashfully request she make a special serving of her Alfredo just for me. And when she said yes, I’d be as gleeful as a kid on Christmas morning. I believe that has a lot to do with why I still to this day love fettuccine Alfredo. It will always hold a spot in my top five favorite foods.
As I’ve found my own way in the kitchen, I’ve played around with original Fettuccine Alfredo recipes, learning from that 3-ingredient recipe my mother made. I’ve made Classic Fettuccine Alfredo, Roasted Garlic Fettucine Alfredo, and even a Copycat Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo. I’m always welcome to a new way to enjoy one of my favorite dishes. And when I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini in Food Network Magazine, I lost my marbles, yelped with excitement, then kicked myself for not thinking of it first.
This is my two favorite things ever in one meal: Alfredo plus pumpkin! Are you as ecstatic as I am? Please say you are. This is arecipe for heaven. They must have the angel-chefs in the sky writing for Food Network. Now, I did had to make some alterations. The original sauce didn’t yield enough sauce, wasn’t very pumpkiny, and barely had any cheese. Don’t worry; I fixed all of that!
This sauce is good enough to eat like soup. It has the absolute perfect not-too-thick, not-too-thin consistency. It’s like liquid velvet. You get the familiar cheesy tanginess of a classic Alfredo, plus that flavorful pumpkin boost which makes it taste just like fall. Shallots add an extra little kick of flavor, and tender cheese-filled tortellini make for an indulgent and filling meal.
This is definitely going on top of my favorite fall foods list. If you love pumpkin, alfredo, or both, then you need this Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini in your life asap!
I served this meal to Mother Cookie. It’s the least I can do after all the bowls of fettuccine Alfredo she made me.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Got kids who don’t like pumpkin? They may change their minds after trying this cheesy and rich pasta dish!
- You don’t have to use tortellini; any pasta will do.
- If you really want to get fancy, try homemade tortellini.
- Garnish with fresh sage for an extra kiss of fall flavor.
- Whole-grain/whole-wheat pasta is always the way to go.
Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini
Inspired by Food Network Magazine
- 2 10-oz. packaged cheese tortellini
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- chopped fresh sage, for garnish
- In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, cook the tortellini according to package directions. They should be al dente, meaning they still have just a bit of bite. Drain.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and saute for one minute. Whisk in the heavy cream and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Whisk in the cheese and pepper, continuing to whisk until completely melted. Remove from heat. Plate tortellini and pour sauce over top. Serve immediately.