Did you watch that show on PBS last night about the people who grow giant pumpkins? Oh man! It was emotional! I had no idea. I almost cried, myself (and let me just say, there was much discussion of crying). That lady who named her pumpkin Shasta? Oh, my heart. So good. I love shows like this. The best kind of TV. And it really did make me want to try to grow a giant pumpkin. But apparently you need a yard the size of a football field and absolutely no life, since you have to spend about four or five hours a day out in the garden taking care of your pumpkin and miss your daugher's soccer games. Since the 'kin can grow up to forty pounds a day. I have the no-life part (at least lately, since I never leave the property), so I could do that, but I don't have the yard for it. And let me tell you, if you, like me, thought growing a giant pumpkin seemed like "fun," you've got another think coming. Because when you watch this show, you will see that it looks like about the most stressful undertaking ever. Mice, woodchucks, beetles, hurricanes, and PATCH SABOTAGERS are all enemies of the great pumpkin. The lady describing her husband running around screaming and chasing the woodchuck was just hilarious. Sort of.
After I watched the show, I went to bed, and early this morning I had the weirdest dream that I was growing a secret giant pumpkin in the bathtub behind a white frosted shower curtain. This was in my old bathroom in my old apartment in the "brown box" in Rock Island, Illinois, where everything in the bathroom was bright white. I would never look at it, and then one day I did look at it and it was pale orange and bulging out of the tub (not attractive — giant pumpkins are actually pretty gruesome-looking, the poor beasts). I got very nervous and started to worry how I was going to tell Andy about it, and was wondering if the bathtub and 'kin was going to crash through the floor, and then what would the landlord say (I am terrified of landlords and whenever I had one would live in constant fear of getting yelled at by the landlord), and how would we get it out since it seemed to be sort of encasing the tub in its own warty folds. And then I woke up. THANK GOODNESS!!! Phew. Close one.
I woke Andy up and told him about the pumpkin show and the dream. It was hard to explain how obsessed I had become with the pumpkin in the past twelve hours just like the people on the show said would happen. Disturbingness!!!
I asked Andy to dictate one of the recipes he frequently makes in the fall. He has a few seasonal recipes in his repertoire that he makes, and I never make them. Because they're better when someone else makes them for you. This is one of those. Serve this with a big spinach salad and crusty French bread. Super great.
Great Pumpkin Pasta, as told to [me] by Andy Paulson, but originally from a recipe from Country Living magazine a couple of years ago
1 c. whipping cream or heavy cream
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
20 leaves of fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 links of mild Italian sausage
1 lb. rigatoni
The first thing you should do is find a little 9" x 9" . . .
glass[metal] . . . thingy. So you can broil your sausage in it. Put the sausage in your pan, and put it in the oven and turn the broiler on.
Grab a [medium] pot. Pour your cup of cream in it, put your pumpkin puree and Parmesan cheese in, mix it together, and chop and add the sage, the salt, and the pepper. What I do is get the cream and stuff going and then I go out to the garden and cut myself some sage. Put that all on medium heat, bring to a simmer, then turn it down and leave it on a low simmer.
In the meantime, get the water boiling. When the water's boiling [please salt it, says Alicia], put the rigatoni in and stir. Look at the sausages and see if they're browned on top. If they are, use tongs to flip them. When the pasta's done, drain it, and return it to the pan. Add the cream sauce and stir it [gently]. Remove sausage from broiler and slice it into bite-size pieces and add it to the pasta. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan cheese on top and serve!!!