Spicy Pumpkin Pasta

This slightly spicy pasta dish puts pumpkin to use as something other than pie.

Tasting Spicy Hazelnut Pumpkin Pasta

Tasting Spicy Hazelnut Pumpkin Pasta

This savory dish puts pumpkin to use as something other than pie. The fall flavors are enhanced with just a bit of heat.

This savory dish puts pumpkin to use as something other than pie. The fall flavors are enhanced with just a bit of heat.

Pumpkin gets a shot at savory with this easy to make dish. This autumn dinner recipe pairs loads of freshness from the garden with pasta and cheese to create a surprisingly satisfying meal. The pumpkin adds body to the sauce and permeates the entire dish with fall flavor. Fresh mint and hazelnuts round out the dish with flavor and texture.

The ingredients:

  • 1 medium pie pumpkin
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts
  • 12 ounces shell pasta or other small dried pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, cut or torn into small pieces
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste

The method:

Preheat oven to 425˚ degrees.

Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Remove the peel from the pumpkin and cut pumpkin flesh into small pieces about ½” thick. Place pumpkin on low rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add a sprinkling of coarse salt and toss. Spread pumpkin out evenly in single layer and roast for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly tender.

While pumpkin is roasting, toast hazelnuts in a non-stick skillet until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Roughly chop hazelnuts.

Prepare pasta according to directions to an al dente state. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 2 cups of roasted pumpkin. Saute for about 2 minutes or until pieces are browned. Add garlic and half of the pepper flakes. Continue cooking until garlic is lightly browned. Immediately add about ½ cup of the pasta water to prevent garlic from browning any further.

Reduce heat to low and begin adding butter gradually, swirl pan or stir gently to create a sauce. Add more pasta water as necessary. Add pasta to pumpkin mixture and toss gently to coat. Add lemon juice, remaining pepper flakes, half of the mint and Parmesan cheese. Stir gently to incorporate all of the ingredients. Add coarse salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the pasta hot topped with hazelnuts, remaining mint and more grated Parmesan (if desired).

    Follow along with these step-by-step directions for making spicy pumpkin pasta:

Pumpkin Pasta How-To

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Spicy Hazelnut Pumpkin Pasta

This savory dish puts pumpkin to use as something other than pie. The fall flavors are enhanced with just a bit of heat. Ingredients: 1 medium pie pumpkin/ 4 tablespoons olive oil/ 1/4 cup hazelnuts/ 12 ounces shell pasta or other small dried pasta/ 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced/ 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes/ 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces/ 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice/ 1/4 cup grated parmesan/ 3 tablespoons fresh mint, cut or torn into small pieces/ coarse salt and pepper to taste

Preparing the pumpkin

Cut a pie pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and peel. Cut the pumpkin flesh into small pieces about 1/2 inch thick. Roast in a 425 degree oven.

Browning the pumpkin and garlic

Brown pumpkin, garlic and crushed pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Taming the heat

Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pumpkin mixture to stop the cooking and make a base for the sauce.

Making the sauce

Add small pieces of butter to the pumpkin mixture gradually and swirl pan to make sauce. Add more pasta water as needed.

Adding the pasta

Add al dente pasta to the pumpkin sauce and toss lightly to coat.

Rounding out the flavors

Add parmesan and fresh lemon juice to the pasta and pumpkin sauce.

Bringing the Flavor

Add fresh mint and more pepper flakes to round out the dish. Top with more mint and hazelnuts.

Tasting Spicy Hazelnut Pumpkin Pasta

Enjoy the fall flavors of this slightly spicy pumpkin pasta dish.

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