It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It’s Fall, Ya’ll!  Officially it is my favorite season.  I’d love to say that I woke up this morning, threw on a jacket, made hot concord grape juice and spread my toast with pumpkin butter but I do live in Texas and we’re experiencing an extended summer, weather-wise.  But there are low 60’s showing up on my 7-day forecast and that’s good enough for me.

Cooking in the fall is always fun in Texas.  No longer being afraid of “heating up the house” brings a wealth of new opportunities.  Stews and cassoulets are standards at my home in the fall.  Roasted meats and rich sauces make a return.  Pears and delicious blue cheese become staples.  It’s also a very busy time of year for my family, which means my slow cooker is put to good use.  Chicken and Dumplings, Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots and meaty soups with full-bodied red wine are all regulars in my house.

I wanted to celebrate the first day of this beautiful season by sharing one of my very favorite fall recipes.  It’s easy, quick and incredibly delicious.  Excellent as a main course or even a side to a roasted pork loin or something similar.  Celebrate the return of fall by making this for your family.  They’ll probably ask you to make it over and over again!

Pumpkin Tortellini with Sage-Brown Butter

1 package frozen wonton wrappers (circles), thawed according to package directions

Filling:

1 15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 tsp. chopped fresh sage

1/2 cup grated fontina cheese

1/2 cup mascarpone

4 tablespoons brown sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sage-Brown Butter:

2 sticks unsalted butter

64 whole medium sage leaves

Place all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Can be prepared up to a day in advance and refrigerated in an air-tight container.

Assembly:

Place approximately 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin filling into the center of each wonton wrapper circle.  Using your finger, dampen half of the edge of the circle with a small amount of cold water.  Fold the dough over in half and press the dough together to seal starting from the folded edge.

Push and air-bubbles out as you go.  Dampen one point of the folded edge and bring the other point over, pressing together.

Place them on a baking sheet dusted with flour and cover them until ready to cook.  They may be frozen at this point.  Do not thaw before cooking.

Preheat an oven to 250 F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add half the tortellini to the pot and bring back to a simmer (Do not let boil again! It will damage the tortellini and the filling might burst out!), reducing heat as necessary. After they rise to the top, let them cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, and place them on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil and cover with foil to keep them warm. Repeat with the remaining tortellini, then place the sheet pan in the heated oven to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

Sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until the butter turns light brown and begins to foam (~ 2-3 minutes). Shake and stir the sage leaves so that they cook evenly and become crisp (these are SO good!). Remove the pan from the heat and immediately sprinkle with a little salt. Drizzle the hot butter over the pasta, and divide up the sage leaves among the plates.

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