Paola is one of my Italian blogging friends and she always has tasty simple recipes. Her motto is use leftovers as much as possible. Although in this case she did not present this as a way to use up leftovers, it would be perfect to use up some leftover pumpkin or pumpkin puree. She presents this as a faux carbonara, because the color of the pumpkin resembles the color of egg yolk and she doesn’t like a real carbonara. I would not call this carbonara, as it doesn’t have the rich unctuous texture. But I really liked the result. The pumpkin is cooked until it falls apart and becomes a sauce that is flavored with pancetta and (in my case) rosemary. Fusilli is an excellent pasta for this, as the pumpkin is absorbed into the coils. It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare this flavorful original pasta dish. Ringrazio Paola ed Ettore per la ricetta!
For 2 servings
150 grams short pasta, I used fusilli
250 grams (1 cup) cleaned and chopped pumpkin or pumpkin puree (or butternut squash)
60 grams (2 oz) pancetta, small dice
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
30 grams (1 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil. While you wait for the water to boil, peel and chop the pumpkin (or use pumpkin puree). When the water boils, add salt and the pasta. Set the timer for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
Cook the pumpkin in the microwave until it is soft.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the pancetta and rosemary.
Stir over medium heat until the pancetta is golden on the outside but still soft inside.
Add the pumpkin.
Add some of the pasta cooking water.
Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring once in a while…
…until the pumpkin falls apart. Add a bit more pasta cooking water if it looks dry.
When the timer beeps, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, together with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Turn off the heat and stir until mixed well. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano.
How about insalata caprese for dessert? Most of us love the famous combination of tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and basil as a savory dish. But it is also delicious as a dessert with the basil transformed into ice cream. Cherry tomatoes are roasted in the oven to bring out their sweetness (with a bit of sugar added for good measure). The buffalo mozzarella just needs to be served at room temperature to bring out its flavor. Balsamic vinegar is not a good idea on the savory version of insalata caprese (because it would overpower the other flavors), but a balsamic syrup is great when drizzled on top of this. As a finishing touch, a drizzle of the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford. And some toasted pine kernels. What’s not to love?