Twins Judy and Joy: 'Tis the season for pumpkin fun

We began a new tradition for our family last year, we call it Family Pumpkin Day. But … it comes with one requirement, you must bring something made with pumpkin!!

The day begins with everyone meeting at one of the local farms nearby. After all of the hellos, kisses and chest bumps, the girls — Paige, Cayla and Ashley (remember now, they are in their 20’s) — run straight to the small, perfectly shaped pumpkins while Nick and Austin immediately start a pumpkin-lifting contest with the biggest ones they can find. Judy, myself and Jackie walk away quietly, dying from embarrassment and worried that they will drop them, break off a stem or if the farm will ask us to leave!

The best part of our new tradition is when we get back to the house, usually Joy’s, and we eat! The chiminea is lit and all the pumpkin foods are out on the patio table ready for everyone to dig in. The kids did a wonderful job making everything with pumpkin. Paulette’s pumpkin-spiced cookies were amazing, Cristyn’s  pumpkin-spiced latte was soooo festive and Jimmy and Johnny, of course, brought the pumpkin beer.

But we are Italian, so everything we do begins with a pasta and Family Pumpkin Day begins with this easy and delish pumpkin pasta dish, Enjoy!

Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta

The delicate sweet sauce coats the pasta perfectly, almost velvety, and the hint of nutmeg is a comforting reminder that the holidays are approaching! Sprinkle with extra parmesan.

1 pound pasta, any you prefer                                                                                                                                  

2 large shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup half & half or heavy cream

splash of white wine

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated, more for garnish

While you are heating the pan to saute the shallots and garlic, start the water for the pasta and cook according to directions. Add butter and oil to pan and continue to saute the shallots and garlic until soft. Add pumpkin, chicken stock, half & half or cream and white wine. Bring to a boil for about 5 min. Lower heat, taste and season with more salt and pepper and nutmeg if needed. Combine with the hot pasta when done and garnish with fresh parmesan, basil or parsley. Yum!

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