Mushroom Agnolotti by Sweet Laurel & Buitoni

Readers, sit back and I'll tell you a story all about how (as we used to say back in the ol' 90s) life got flipped turned upside down. You see, nearly six weeks ago I brought a baby into the world, and ever since then, life around here has been full of heart-fluttering infant smiles and the softest flannel blankies and kissing the tiniest pudgy fingers. Cute as they are, however, babies are also adorably stern taskmasters demanding an insane amount of work, which means that life around here is also now full of colicky screams and baby wipes and three AM feedings and laundering huge piles of impossibly tiny clothes.

Mushroom Agnolotti by Sweet Laurel & Buitoni

Attempts at fine dining (all-day braises? Complicated, twenty-step-process recipes? Yeah, that's a big old temporary nope) are somewhat on the backburner lately, but that doesn't mean we're not still looking for ways to eat beautifully--even while catering to the demands of a tiny human. My solution these days? I'm openly embracing kitchen shortcuts, especially when they involve wholesome, delicious ingredients like fresh pasta with vegetable-infused fillings. We've been experimenting with Buitoni's line of freshly-made filled pastas, a recent discovery and an absolute lifesaver. I'm all for any solution that emphasizes freshness and encourages creativity, while making the most of my limited time and effort in the kitchen. Just the addition of a simply made sauce and a sprinkling of fresh herbs or grated cheese brings dinner together quickly, and in a way that lives up to my (okay, admittedly pretty high) standards. Few things may be able to penetrate through that newborn haze of sleep deprivation and utter wonder at this tender human life we've created, but one of them is the sweet luxury of sitting down to a meal with my husband like real grownups. We may be seated cross-legged at the coffee table, surrounded by a jungle of swaddle blankets, binkies and Boppys, but we're dining like adults once in a while.

This particular dinner--a hearty combination of winter flavors that highlights pumpkin, sage, and savory mushroom filling--comes together in under 20 minutes from start to finish. Creamy pumpkin-based sauce is the perfect complement to tender pasta filled with portobello & crimini mushrooms, while a hint of sage (my favorite winter herb) and a scattered handful of golden toasted hazelnuts adds sophistication with minimal effort. Turns out, that whole twenty-minutes-and-done thing is the key to success--it's exactly the right amount of time that slips easily into one of those magical quiet periods in between feedings, diaper changing, laundry and work. Sign me up for any solution that takes us one step closer to dinner, without sacrificing freshness or flavor......that's a kitchen shortcut I can truly get behind!

Mushroom Agnolotti by Sweet Laurel & Buitoni
Mushroom Agnolotti with Creamy Pumpkin Sage Sauce

Makes two servings

9 oz. package BUITONI Mushroom Agnolotti
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 minced shallot
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup pasta water (reserved from cooking pasta)
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (plus extra for garnish, if you like)

Heat a large pot of water to boiling, add BUITONI Mushroom Agnolotti and cook until done, per instructions (about 5-7 minutes). Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce.

Heat oven to 300, put hazelnuts in a pie pan and place in oven. Toast nuts until lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes, then remove and roughly chop into pieces.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until golden, stirring often, about three minutes. Add pumpkin puree, cream, reserved pasta water and sage, stirring well. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for five minutes to combine flavors. Add a splash of additional water if you would like a slightly thinner sauce. Taste and add salt (more or less if needed). To serve, plate the agnolotti then drizzle generously with sauce and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and fresh sage, if using. Enjoy while nice and warm!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.