Dinner for Four

As per usual, I had found myself in a dilemma.  I had promised dinner to 3 people at 7, but was still in the chem building at 5:45.  Then, I invite a 4th, which exponentially raised my stress.

When I had gotten home at 6:15, I still had no clue what I was going to make for dinner.

I took a quick look into my pantry and saw a pile of canned pumpkin looming over the rest of my food at me.  Pumpkin pasta!  That seemed easy enough.

Then I began to worry about a side dish.  I had a spaghetti squash that had been adorning our bar, so I figured no better time than the present to roast it.  I quickly halved it, and started pre heating the oven.

Fortunately, my roommate came home at this point and offered to roast some tofu as a protein.  Not really sure what I would have done without her, since I didn’t have anything else to share 🙂

I also realized I lacked a sauce for the pumpkin pasta.  Doing a quick search for what kinds of sauce goes well pumpkin I realized another dilemma — my roommate is lactose intolerant so anything creamy would be bad.  Then I saw my plain yogurt!  I figured I could make a pseudo-alfredo with sage.  In the end, my roommate hated it and used olive oil + brown sugar, but everyone else liked it.

In my stress to get everything on the table, I forgot to take pictures 😦

Here are the recipes:

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

preheat the oven to 410 degrees F
cut the squash down the middle, scoop out the insides (but keep the seeds!)
place each half on a roasting pan, fill the pan ~1/4 inch with water
roast until the squash easily peels away with a fork and forms “spaghetti”
(It wasn’t ready when I wanted it to be, so I stuck it in the microwave for 2 minutes to finish it off)

Bonus: roast the seeds the same way you would with pumpkin seeds, they’re delicious

Pumpkin Fettuccine

In a food processor, mix 2 cups white flour, 2 tablespoons semolina flour, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and a dash of nutmeg
In a seperate bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup pumpkin puree and 1 medium egg
combine pumpkin mixture and flour, briefly
Add 2 medium eggs to the mixture and continue mixing until a ball of dough forms

I had to add more flour, probably ~1/4 cup because it was too moist

On a semolina dusted cutting board, knead the dough.  Let it rest for 30 minutes

After resting, cut the pasta to your desired size.  I used thickness 4 with a fettuccine die.

Boil until desired doneness, ~4 minutes for al dente

Pseudo alfredo sauce

Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan, adding 1/2 the amount of chicken stock you normally would for 2 cups of water
Add 1 cup plain yogurt
Add a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, and pepper
whisk together
if sauce is too thin, whisk in flour until you achieve the desired thickness

Roasted tofu

place diced tofu on a roasting pan and toss in olive oil and salt.  Roast at 410 degrees F until brown and crispy ~20 minutes

This meal was the perfect amount for 3 runners and 1 heavy eater who each took 3rd helpings.  It would probably work great for 6 light eaters.  Bread would be a great accompaniment.

Total Cost: $4.89+ (but probably still less than $5.50)

squash: $2.79 (bought for $0.69/lb)
pumpkin pasta: $1.55 (pumpkin – $0.45, flour – 0.50, semolina – $0.10, eggs – $0.50)
tofu: (I actually have no idea, I never buy tofu)
sauce: $0.50 (used about 1/4 of the yogurt I made)

Pasta is the perfect meal for company..it cooks fast and is universal.  I didn’t end up serving it until about 7:30, so if you can make the dough ahead of time, that will save a ton of time.  Roasting the spaghetti squash took the majority of the time.


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