Pasta Tossed with Sugar Pumpkin Puree


This delicious pasta just goes to prove, pumpkin puree is not just for pumpkin pie. photo by Nancy Duran

Pumpkins are on just about every front porch this time of year. But rarely do you see them in the kitchen. And that’s a shame. Because little sugar pumpkins are really very tasty and versatile. They certainly live up to their sweet namesake and they are easier to prepare than you might think. My recommendation is, get yourself some of these little pumpkins and roast them up to make yourself a couple batches of puree. It freezes great and can be used in everything from pumpkin soup to pumpkin pie, right on down to this tasty pumpkin pasta.

Serves 6

1 small sugar pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Pinch of ground allspice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  1. You’ll need to roast the pumpkin so that you have fresh pumpkin puree for your pasta. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place your pumpkin on a large cutting board and get yourself a sharp knife. To halve the pumpkin, first, give yourself a flat edge. This way it won’t roll around on your cutting board. Make a shallow cut horizontally across the top (stem end) of the pumpkin to remove the stem. Turn the pumpkin upside down and create the same type of cut on the bottom to create another flat edge. Now it is safe to cut through the pumpkin lengthwise so that you can cleave it in half to expose the seeds.
  3. Next, you’ll need to remove the seeds. I like to use a serrated grapefruit spoon to do this but if you don’t have one just use a regular spoon and some elbow grease. Remove the pulp and seeds. Separate the seeds from the pulp and set them aside to roast with the seasonings of your choice. (They make a great snack.)
  4. Place the pumpkin halves, flesh side-down, on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the skin is soft enough so that when you gently press on it, it dimples. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh. One 2 to 3 pound pumpkin should yield around 2 cups of puree.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Drain and rinse the pasta in the colander under running water to remove excess starch. Place the drained pasta in a large bowl.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small frying pan over low heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  7. Place the pumpkin puree, cooked shallots (along with the butter in the pan), sour cream, grated Parmesan, all spice, and reserved pasta water in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour pumpkin puree mix over pasta and stir well to combine and coat all over. Served topped with fresh parsley and extra grated Parmesan.

Nutritional analysis based on 6 servings (does not include salt and pepper to taste):
Calories 396, Fat 11g, Sodium 101 mg, Carbohydrates 60g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 3g, Protein 12g

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