Savory Pumpkin Sauce and Lunch at the Market Table Bistro

So you’ve read about the Virginia Crush Bus wine tour and you’ve seen the tasting notes covering the 28 wines we experienced that day. Now it’s time to talk about the food! I had been debating making a pumpkin sauce for a while. It’s not often that you find savory pumpkin dishes, except maybe a soup or a chili here and there and on a rare occasion a risotto. After tasting a delicious butternut squash pasta at our Crush Bus lunch stop, the Market Table Bistro, I knew my pumpkin sauce was just around the corner.

After wrapping up at Tarara Winery, the Crush Bus whisked us away to Lovettsville, a little town in Loudoun County not far from the Maryland and West Virginia state borders. In the historic area of town, you will find the Market Table Bistro, a farm-to-table dining experience co-owned by Chef Jason Lage and his partner Rebecca Dudley. The casual environment blends well with the surrounding, rural areas and lends a focus to the very heart of the experience the owners wish to bring to their customers: fresh, locally resourced, quality cuisine.

For the Crush Bus, Chef Lage prepared a butternut squash pasta with fall mushrooms. O…M…G! What a feast for the eyes, taste buds, and belly! I was thinking the pasta would be something like ravioli stuffed with butternut squash and portabellas. Nope! Homemade pappardelle pasta so soft and tender; three or four different kinds of mushrooms I had never seen before; and a creamy butternut squash sauce. I am so not a vegetarian and very rarely go “meatless”, but this dish was so completely satisfying and delicious that it wasn’t until we were on our way to Hiddencroft that I realized I had had a vegetarian lunch!

Today I am sharing a dish similar to the pasta dish we had at Market Table Bistro,  but with pumpkin instead of butternut squash, and not as farm fresh with store bought pasta sheets and shitake mushrooms (I’m pretty sure there was probably truffle oil in the original dish, as well!).  This is one multi-tasking sauce! I dressed up grilled pork chops and roasted chicken with the leftover sauce, which gives it a thumbs up from me as a wonderful and healthy substitute for turkey gravy at your Thanksgiving table. It also went deliciously with goat cheese tortellini and I think I am going to make pumpkin enchiladas with next week’s Thanksgiving leftovers!

Savory Pumpkin Sauce

makes appx 2 cups of sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and stir to combine fats.
  2. Add shallot and onion to pan and cook until translucent.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and sprinkle in flour. Stir to combine with the onions and cook 2-3 minutes to thicken.
  4. Pour wine into saucepan. Return heat to medium and bring to a low boil. Allow to simmer about 2 minutes to cook out the alcohol.
  5. Add pumpkin puree, stock, and milk to saucepan. Stir to break down the lumps from the puree.
  6. Bring sauce to a boil again. Reduce heat to maintain a  simmer and cook 5-8 minutes.   If sauce is too thick, add more stock a few tablespoons at a time.
  7. Use a stick blender to blend all the ingredients and break down the onions and puree lumps to create a smooth sauce.
  8. Add chopped herbs, cinnamon, and Parmesan to the sauce. Stir or use your stick blender to combine and simmer 2-3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper and/or additional herbs/spices as desired.

Serve over long, flat pasta and topped with sauteed shitake mushrooms.



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