On Halloween night, kids can be too excited for trick-or-treating to eat a proper meal. This quick pesto pasta makes a perfect backdrop for bocconcini “eyeballs”. A simple spiced pumpkin mug cake is pure comfort, perfect for curling up on the couch while you wait for little ghouls and goblins to appear.
1/2 lb (250 g) spaghetti or spaghettini
1/3 cup (185 ml) pesto
1 cup (250 ml) medium bocconcini, halved
2-3 small grape tomatoes, sliced crosswise, or sliced black olives
frozen peas, thawed (optional)
Pumpkin mug cake:
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp (30 ml) canned pumpkin purée
2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or cream
1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
a shake of cinnamon
pinch baking powder (about 1/8 tsp)
vanilla ice cream, for serving
Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, start the cakes. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in the sugar, egg, pumpkin and cream, stirring until smooth. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and stir
just until combined.
Drain pasta well and toss with the pesto. Put the pasta on a serving platter or in individual bowls, and arrange bocconcini “eyes” by tucking them into the pasta, cut side up, and adding sliced tomato, olives and peas. (A slice of red pepper makes a good tongue.)
Before you serve dinner, divide the cake batter between two mugs and microwave on high for 2-2 1/2 minutes, until the cakes are springy to the touch. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2015.