I don't care if it makes basic to make pumpkin-shaped pasta on Halloween. I actually tried to fight it - I saw it as I was cruising the pasta aisle, giggled a little, and then gave in and put them in my basket on the second loop around.
And I don't regret it one bit. I kept the preparation simple to maximize any pumpkin flavor that might be in that cuteness. There's not much, but the pasta is thick and hearty, and a cheese and butter sauce never hurt anyone.
The pork was an afterthought - while I could quite easily have polished off half of the pasta yield and called it dinner, but I'm trying to be slightly more balanced, and I figured some protein couldn't hurt. Simple, breaded pork chops were the perfect answer.
1/2 c. flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. panko
4 pork chops (about 1 lb. total)
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, for pan-frying
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare a breading station by placing the flour, beaten egg, and panko in three separate bowls. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip each pork chop into the flour. Shake to remove excess. Then dip into the egg, and then generously coat with bread crumbs. Set aside.
3. In a large cast-iron pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is very hot, place the pork chops in and pan fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes each side. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest briefly before serving.
Pumpkin Pasta Cacio e Pepe
14 oz. bag of Trader Joe's Fall Zucchette Pasta
2 T. butter
2 c. shredded rainbow chard
3/4 c. grated Parmesan
pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until 2 minutes shy of the package instructions. Drain, reserving 3/4 c. pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 c. reserved pasta water and chard to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, and stir in Parmesan, tossing until melted. Add a generous amount of pepper. Add more pasta water if the mixture seems dry. Serve immediately.