A lot of people use pumpkin puree for their versions of pumpkin pasta, but I just can't compare it to roasting the fresh stuff. So yes, there is the extra roasting element here, but you will be handsomely rewarded. The leftover chunks of caramelised pumpkin tossed through the pasta are like little nuggets of textural gold.
700g Japanese pumpkin, cut into eight thick wedges, skin on, seeds in
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1½ tbsp maple syrup
1-2 slices of sourdough, blitzed to a rough breadcrumb
2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves, plus 1 tsp to serve
2 tbsp butter
250g creme fraiche
2-3 tbsp stock (use vegetable or chicken)
packet pasta of your choice, a thick ribbon pasta works well (about 60g per person)
4 slices creamy blue cheese (about 40g per serve, or to taste)
1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line a large flat baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place the pumpkin wedges on the tray. Scatter them with garlic and drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden on the edges and cooked through.
3. While the pumpkin is cooking, add the breadcrumbs, thyme leaves and butter to a frypan and place over medium heat. Cook until the bread is toasted and crisp (about one minute). Set aside.
4. Once the pumpkin is cooked, allow to cool for 15 minutes, before reserving 3 wedges of cooked pumpkin, keeping the skin and seeds for a little hidden crunch. Chop into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
5. Scoop out the remaining cooked pumpkin flesh (discarding the seeds and skin), the oil and crunchy bits from the tray all into a blender. Add the creme fraiche and stock and blitz to a smooth soup-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and return to its hot saucepan along with the blitzed pumpkin mixture. Toss to coat. Using tongs, plate the pumpkin pasta and top with reserved chunks of cooked pumpkin, gently overturning the pasta on the plate. Top with breadcrumbs, more salt and pepper, and finally add a slice of blue cheese to each plate. Scatter with thyme leaves and serve.
If you like this recipe, try my romesco and goat's curd fettuccine