Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta

By Stacie Morgan, October 13, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

It’s October in Texas, so that means we’re feeling our first hints of fall. The temperatures are cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and people want quick, easy recipes using classic fall ingredients.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

This warm and savory pasta dish is perfect for cool autumn nights.

With today’s delicious one-pot recipe, you’ll save time and energy because it only takes a few minutes of cook time once the pasta is cooked to al dente, and cleanup is simplified!

Most fall recipes using canned pumpkin involve some kind of dessert or bread, but I’ve created a savory, cheesy pasta dish perfect for any cool fall night. While this specific incarnation is vegetarian, I recommend adding some bacon into the pasta if you need to please any meat lovers in your family.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Mmm… Gouda…

The combination of the garlic, fresh thyme, pumpkin, and Gouda makes for a terrific flavor profile. I prefer regular Gouda for this recipe, but if you are a huge fan of smoked cheeses, you can use half regular and half smoked Gouda instead.

Finally, the key to making the sauce before adding the pasta back in is to make sure the Gouda gets fully melted and combined with the half and half and pumpkin portion.

Hooray for fall!

Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta

Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

We prefer elbow macaroni for this recipe, but you can use your favorite small noodle.

  • 1 lb. Macaroni noodles
  • ½ c. Minced sweet yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp. Roasted minced garlic from jar (can substitute fresh garlic)
  • ½ tsp. Sea salt
  • ½ tsp. Black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 c. Pure pumpkin puree (from can)
  • 12 oz. Shredded gouda cheese (one bag)
  • 2 c. Half and Half

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Make sure your noodles don’t get too soft at this point, as they’ll finish cooking later in the recipe.

1) Cook noodles to al dente so they do not overcook when you add them back to the pot.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

These seasonings pare well with the pumpkin you’ll add later.

2) Prepare the onions, garlic, thyme leaves, and seasonings as directed in ingredients list.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Make sure your onions are golden-brown and translucent before heading to the next step.

3) Add the butter to the pot over medium heat and let it melt. Add in the onions, garlic, thyme, and seasonings. Sauté for three minutes.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

This is a crucial step, as you want to ensure the pumpkin thoroughly integrates with the seasonings.

4) Once the butter is browning and mixture is golden, add the pumpkin puree. Mix everything with a spoon. Let the mixture cook for five minutes to let the pumpkin absorb the flavors. Stir as needed.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

And by stir, we mean ensure that the half and half is completely folded into the pumpkin.

5) Add in the half and half. Mix well. Turn the heat up a small amount.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Why a whisk? Because it’s better for stirring the cheese until it melts into the rest of the sauce.

6) Switch to a whisk at this point. Add the Gouda, and mix until the ingredients are combined. Once the cheese is fully melted and the texture of the sauce is smooth, it is ready for the pasta.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Noodle Time!

7) Turn the heat to low, add the pasta, and mix thoroughly.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Such a filling fall dish!

8) After a minute or two, the pasta should be cooked through and ready to serve. Garnish with any extra cheese and/or a few fresh thyme leaves.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Garlic, Gouda, and Thyme Pumpkin Pasta | Bounce Energy Blog

Fun complements to this recipe include a warm tomato basil soup!

This recipe is a fast and flavorful fall meal worth every second of cooking time.

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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About 

Stacie is a Texas A&M graduate using her animal science education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy and be more green in the kitchen.

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