14 November 2010

Some Disconnected Rambling, Roasted Pumpkin & Pancetta Pasta and Quiet Cupcakes

Mini Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream for a good friend's birthday. (recipe below) Since the cake recipe doesn't require a mixer I prefer to call them "Shhhhh...The Babies Are Napping" Cupcakes.  
These wee bites were decorated by my very talented nearly-3yr-old.  
We plan to open a bakery together before she turns 5.

I busted out the winter dishes this weekend.  I swear they really do help brighten the cold, snowy, dark days.  Plus, everything tastes a little bit yummier in a festive bowl, right?

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Pumpkin & Pancetta  (recipe below)

Three generations of love.  A little bit of girl talk and so. many. giggles.

I took this photo to remind myself of how fast this time with her will fly.  We'd been stuck in the house all day due to the weather and I was feeling worn down, restless and in no mood to play.  Naps weren't great, Daddy was working late, Mama needed a workout and the laundry piles were threatening to suffocate all of us.  
 All she wanted was someone to sit with her while she molded, squished, smashed and chatted. 
All I wanted was a moment. to. myself. and perhaps some time to pull my house back together (and fold a load or two of laundry). 
I chose to take a deep breath, pour a glass of wine and jump in with her.  It made my day.   

 Her: "Cheeeeese!"  



Speaking of bright colors, yellow is officially OUT.  As is the jaundice!

 Leaving only pure cute.

Roasted Pumpkin & Pancetta Pasta
This is essentially macaroni and cheese topped with sweet roasted pumpkin and smoky pancetta.  I prepped it in the morning, covered and refrigerated it, then baked it just before dinner that night.  Serve this with a simple salad of Arugula, pears and walnuts.  So delicious on a cold autumn day.  


  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried rosemary
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 3  cups  (1-inch) cubed peeled heirloom pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • Cooking spray
  •  6 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 8  ounces  uncooked penne
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded "Italian blend" cheese (Mine had romano, asiago, provolone and mozzarella)
  • 1/3  cup  (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Decrease oven temperature to 350°.
  3. Cook the pancetta in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan and set aside, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside.
  4. Cook pasta according to the package directions until just barely al denta, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
  5. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and nutmeg in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add shredded Italian cheeses, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese begins to brown.
  6. Let sit 10 min before serving.
Adapted from HERE.

Quiet Mini Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  •  zest from one lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 48 mini-muffin tins with liners or generously grease a 10x15x1 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter or margarine and water to a boil. Remove from heat, and quickly whisk in dry ingredients first, followed by egg mixture. Whisk gently until smooth but do not overmix.  Stir in lemon zest. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 x 1 inch baking pan. (or prepared cupcake tins)
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 to 22 minutes (10-12 min for minis), or until cake is just barely golden and springs back when lightly pressed. Cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 T fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  1. Beat butter, cream cheese, salt, vanilla until smooth. 
  2. Add in confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Beat in lemon juice, starting with one tablespoon and then adding the rest one teaspoon at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.  You may not need all of the lemon juice.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes immediately or store in an airtight container in refrigerator until ready to use.  Bring buttercream to room temp and rewhip before frosting cupcakes.
Adapted from my brain.  :)

1 comment:

  1. It was time for yellow to move on out the back door. Yay! Both recipes sound divine. A snowy Monday calls for cooking and baking, and both recipes would be perfect today. I think I know what I'll be doing with my day.