At the organic market I discovered a great ingredient, which is partially defatted pumpkin seed flour. Pumpkin seed kernels have 49% fat, 8% carbohydrates, and 30% protein, and so they are quite fat. Pumpkin seeds are pressed to get out most of the pumpkin seed oil, and what is left used to be fed to livestock. But someone figured this is actually a great vegan source of protein. Because the flour made from the “partially defatted” pumpkin seed kernels (which is just a fancy way of stating that the oil has already been harvested from them) has 59% (!) protein, 15% fat, 3% carbohydrates, and 10% dietary fiber. With such a high protein content, 50 grams (1.8 oz) of pumpkin seed flour is equivalent to 150 grams (5.5 oz) of meat! And although it does not taste like meat it is very tasty, as pumpkin seed flour has a nice nutty flavor.
I decided to use the pumpkin seed flour to make pappardelle pasta, and to serve that pasta with roasted pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds, to make this a showcase of pumpkin. The result was amazingly delicious and I urge you to try this. It is difficult to make vegan dishes that are delicious and nutritious, but this dish ticks all the boxes. I really did not feel the need to add anything else (like cheese). I will definitely make this again.
Since pasta made from pure pumpkin seed flour would fall apart, I used half Italian 00 flour and half pumpkin seed flour. The wheat flour provides the gluten that are needed to give the pasta its texture. 50% wheat flour was just enough, as even now some of the pappardelle ended up breaking when they were boiled. Of course I used water (instead of eggs) to keep the pasta vegan. To make this even more a showcase of pumpkin you could use pumpkin seed oil, but I used a nice fruity extra virgin olive oil instead. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings as a main course (with plenty of protein)
100 grams (2/3 cup) pumpkin seed flour
100 grams (2/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
120 ml (1/2 cup) water
40 grams (4 Tbsp) pumpkin seeds
450 grams (1 lb) diced pumpkin or butternut squash, net weight after peeling and deseeding
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the pumpkin seed flour and 00 flour in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Mix on lowish speed until mixed well.
Now add most of the water, about 100 ml, while the mixer is running on medium speed with the paddle attachment.
Slowly add just enough more water to allow the dough to come together. If you add too much too quickly, the dough will become sticky. If that happens, add some more 00 flour.
Switch over to the dough hook and knead at medium speed…
…until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. As the dough has less gluten than regular pasta dough, it will be less smooth and elastic than with regular pasta dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, peel the pumpkin or butternut squash…
…and dice the pumpkin flesh (about 1.5 cm or 1/2 inch dice). Toss with a bit of olive oil and arrange in a single layer in an oven proof dish.
Roast at 225C/440F until it is tender but still firm to the bite and starts to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so for even cooking.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in the same oven. They are ready when they start to pop, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll out the pasta dough. I used the pasta machine to a setting of “6” (with “9” the thinnest setting). Rolling out this dough is not as easy as with regular pasta dough, but it is doable.
I used the new tool I had picked up in Italy to cut the pasta sheets into pappardelle of about 1 cm (1/2 inch) wide.
Allow the pappardelle to dry a bit in a single layer.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, add salt and the pappardelle.
Boil the pappardelle until they are al dente, about 2 minutes. Then drain them, and reserve some of the cooking water.
Season the roasted pumpkin with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the drained pappardelle to the roasted pumpkin, together with about half of the roasted pumpkin seeds.
Gently toss the pasta with the pumpkin, trying not to mash the pumpkin too much. Add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water if it looks too dry.
Season on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining pumpkin seeds and drizzled with your best extra virgin olive oil.
We enjoyed this with a Pecorello from Calabria that was partially aged in oak barrels (this is the Neostos Bianco by Spiriti Ebbri). In general an oaked white that is also a bit fruity will work well.
Linguine with sole and lemon zest is an elegant pasta dish can be prepared in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Succulent pieces of sole fillet (I actually used plaice, schol in Dutch) are tossed with linguine pasta in a simple sauce of white wine, lemon zest, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and butter.