I feel like pumpkin is usually relegated to purée in cans, which we happily make desserts with. But, fresh pumpkin is really delicious and very similar to other gourds like butternut squash, acorn squash and kaboucha squash, that we use in sweet and savory recipes all the time. You can easily substitute any of those squash for the pumpkin in this recipe. I used a small sugar pie pumpkin and loved the flavor. Plus, it doesn't get more Halloween than black and white pumpkin pasta, right?
Total Time: 1 hour
½ 8-oz bag black and white bowtie pasta
¼ cup olive oil
8-oz pancetta, diced
10 to 15 sage leaves, large leaves roughly chopped, small leaves kept whole
2 cups peeled and diced sugar pie pumpkin, or butternut, acorn or kaboucha squash (pieces should be around ½-inch squares)
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 small, sweet onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 cups brussels sprouts (about 2 large handfuls), outer leaves trimmed and reserved, cores cut in half
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for pasta water
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Garnish: grated Pecorino or Parmesan
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta and cook until golden and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate. Add the sage leaves to the hot oil and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, or until crispy. Using the same slotted spoon, transfer the sage to the pancetta plate.
Add the pumpkin and parsnips to the same pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook until almost tender, 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until becoming translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. At this point, add the pasta to the water and cook following the instructions, until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, add the brussels sprout leaves and cores to the sauté pan and cook, stirring often. When the pasta is ready, take your slotted spoon and transfer the pasta directly into the sauté pan. Add about ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan as well - this will help to make a sauce. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, gently tossing a few times. Add the pancetta, sage, nutmeg, salt and toss to combine. Serve immediately with grated Pecorino or Parmesan.