Autumn means one thing — pumpkin season! Gourds abound in local markets and fairs. In Italy, you can even spot spaghetti costumed in pumpkin. Yep, the very same pumpkin we use in sweets, like pie. For Italians, pumpkin is normally used in savory dishes like tortelloni or a crostata.
In honor of autumn's arrival, See Italy is sharing with you this Italian twist on the all-American veggie: fettuccine con la zucca or pasta with pumpkin sauce. Below you’ll find a 100% Italian-approved recipe. We promise: this pasta is sure to please the pickiest of pumpkin eaters. You simply roast the pumpkin, stir with cheese, and toss with pasta. Fall foods never tasted so delizioso.
FETTUCINE WITH CREAMY PUMPKIN SAUCE
- 8 oz. fresh fettuccine, cooked al dente
- 1 – 1.5 cups of parmigiano, fresh grated
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1 – 1.5 lbs kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash
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.
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 1/3 cup of the hot and starchy water. Scoop out the squash pulp and mix it in the pan with grated cheese.
Stir squash and parmigiano over medium-low heat until a creamy sauce has formed. The cheese will melt, blending into the softened pulp. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper or a bit of fresh nutmeg. 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 get an even coating, add a little hot pasta water to the skillet while stirring. 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 the sugo. Serve hot, sprinkled with a spoonful of grated cheese or fried sage.