Autumn means one thing — pumpkin season! Gourds abound in local markets and fairs. In the fall in Italy, you can even spot spaghetti with pumpkin! Yes, the very pumpkin we use in sweets like pie. In Italy, pumpkin is normally found in savory plates, like tortelloni. Below you'll find our authentic Italian recipe for pumpkin pasta.
This pumpking pasta recipe is sure to please the pickiest of eaters. You simply 1) roast the pumpkin, 2) stir with cheese, and 3) toss with pasta.
PUMPKIN PASTA RECIPE:
- 8 oz. penne or rigatoni,cooked al dente
- 1 - 1.5 cups of parmigiano, fresh grated
- 4 oz pancetta, cubed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1 - 1.5 lbs kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1 onion, rough diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, splitting it down the middle. Since you roast the squash whole, there is no need to peel. Scoop the seeds and stringy goop out from the cavity, rinsing the halves under cold water. Rub the squash all over with olive oil. Then, wrap the squash in aluminum foil. Be sure no part of the squash is exposed. Wrapping it will help the squash to steam and, subsequently, cook faster. Lay the squash flat-side down on a sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes -- until the flesh softens and can be spooned out.
About 20 minutes into cooking the squash, frizzle the pancetta cubes over medium-low heat in a large and flat skillet. Cook until the pancetta starts to render. Add the diced onion to the pancetta, stirring constantly. When the onion turns translucent and the pancetta starts to brown, turn off the heat. Keep the onion and pancetta in the skillet.
Take the squash pieces out of the oven and let them cool, unwrapped, for 2-3 min. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente. Remove the boiled pasta with a slotted spoon, reserving at least 1 cup of the hot and starchy water. Scoop out the squash pulp and mix it in the pan with the pancetta and onion. At this point, return the skillet to medium-low heat.
Stir squash, pancetta and parmigiano until a creamy mix has formed. The cheese will melt, blending into the softened pulp. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper. You may need to use a wooden spoon to mash larger chunks of squash.
As a final step, toss the pasta with the cheese-and-squash mix. To ensure an even coating, add a little hot pasta water to the skillet while stirring. If desired, mix butter in. Pour the water in 1 tablespoon at a time to avoid a runny sauce. Shake the pan once or twice to ensure equal distribution of sugo. Serve it hot, sprinkled with a spoonful of grated cheese or fried sage. Buon appetito!
Want more autumnal inspiration? Click below to download our free guide to fall in Italy: