Sunday, October 31, 2021

Brown Butter Pumpkin Alla Grigio Tortellini {Happy Halloween}!!

I really wanted to make Half-Baked Harvest's Sage Browned Butter Chicken Pot Pie this week, but necessity and time dictated otherwise. You see, I have this superpower called hoarding and it gets me into trouble. I had no business buying more food until I used up the hoards of Costco-sized tortellini, can after can of coconut milk, can after can of pumpkin, packet after packet of sage, and bag after bag of Parmesan.

True story. At the beginning of the pandemic I was afraid of running out of regular cow's milk, so I found myself buying can after can of coconut milk, 12 cans to be exact. When I hoard things, I don't play around. It's kind of a problem, unless of course, there really is an apocalypse. I will not be caught without.

Interestingly enough, I had obviously thought of coconut milk as a replacement for regular milk, but I HAD NOT thought of it as a replacement for heavy cream, until I read Half-Baked Harvest's post for Brown Butter Pumpkin Alla Vodka Tortellini and she mentioned it and then bang....I was fueled with ideas for using up my hoards of coconut milk.

So, thanks to my hoarding abilities, this glorious and spooktacular dish was able to grace my table on a day when ghosts and goblins came to town and candy was passed out at a spectacular rate. It is a hearty and wonderfully creamy and comforting meal for any day of the week, but would make for a great weekday meal on a busy night. I actually loved it to pieces and can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week.

Tip#1:This recipe was originally made with vodka, but I didn't have any of that so I subbed white wine and changed the title to Brown Butter Pumpkin Alla Grigio Tortellini. I don't really know if that works or not, because my wine didn't have a screw on lid so I felt compelled to drink it all. Which leads me to tip #2.

Tip#2:If you only plan on cooking with wine (and not therefore drinking it) please make sure you get one with a screw top lid so you can keep it for further cooking. This will prevent you from imbibing a touch too much.

Tip#3:I have cooked with pumpkin more this season than any other season and I have some tips concerning leftover pumpkin. DON'T LET IT GO TO WASTE! I have found that leftover pumpkin works very well added to the custard portion of french toast. Doesn't really matter how much you add, it'll be fine! Another way to use up that leftover pumpkin is to simply stir it in to any cream sauce and it'll pair wonderfully! You can also stir that leftover pumpkin into chili.


Brown Butter Pumpkin Alla Vodka Tortellini

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest

by Tieghan Gerard

Serves 6

3 tablespoons salted butter

 8 fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup vodka, or white wine

1 cup pumpkin puree

salt and black pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream or canned coconut milk

1 pound cheese tortellini

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, melt together 2 tablespoons butter and the sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is browning and the sage is crisp, 4 minutes. Remove the sage leaves from the butter and set aside.

To the skillet, add the olive oil, shallot, garlic, and oregano. Cook until the shallots begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomato paste, pumpkin, and red pepper flakes, cook 4-5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the vodka, or white wine, cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, 1 tablespoon butter, and the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.

Add the tortellini to the vodka/wine sauce, tossing to coat. If needed, thin the sauce with pasta cooking water. 

Divide the tortellini among plates and top with crispy sage and parmesan. Enjoy!

Spooktacular Suppers @ IHCC!


  1. Wow! I like your story. My biggest takeaway is the use of coconut milk for cream. Don't know why I didn't connect the dot since I do that for baking. True story from me: I hoarded 50 lb of flour during the lockdown.

  2. I love reading your posts! I’m the same with wine and lately I can’t get the doggone corkscrew to work for me so Doug is opening my bottles!

    I love the adaptations you made, this would be a great one for this weeks theme Pasta!

  3. Such great tips! Unfortunately I am unable to drink wine right now so I've been unable to cook any recipes that include wine unless it uses a LOT since my husband doesn't think he can drink the whole rest of the bottle himself. I've seen so many versions of pumpkin vodka sauce this fall and I've been meaning to try this one! Looks great. Genius idea on the coconut milk substitution.

  4. Funny story about the vodka and wine substitute. If you think of it get a wine vac sealer. I use one just about every night. It comes with several rubber corks and the little hand pump vac pulls the excess air out of the bottle.
    I drink wine just about every night so once I pour a glass I vac the air out.

    I love this dish and thanks for the tip on the substitution!

    I thought I’d commented before but I’m having serious cases of can’t remember crap lately!


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