Creamy pumpkin soup meets pasta, plus swap pesto for romesco in these bowls of vegetarian comfort.
Creamy pumpkin and blue cheese pasta
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
- 250g creme fraiche
- 2-3 tbsp stock (use vegetable or chicken)
- 1-2 slices of sourdough, blitzed to a rough breadcrumb
- 2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves, plus 1 tsp to serve
- 2 tbsp butter
- 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)
- Preheat the oven to 175C and line a large flat baking tray with baking paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once the pumpkin is cooked, allow to cool for 15 minutes, before reserving three wedges of cooked pumpkin, keeping the skin and seeds for a little hidden crunch. Chop into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
This pasta swaps pesto for romesco. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Romesco and goat's curd fettuccine
I recommend double-batching this romesco. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Some romescos are smooth, but I like to keep it as a pesto consistency, a bit of robust chunkiness goes so well on silky pasta, and ditto sandwiches the next day or dolloped through a salad. This recipe makes a little extra sauce which keeps for about 10 days. Store as you would a pesto, covered with a splash of olive oil to prevent it drying out, in an airtight container in the fridge.
- 2 x marinated red peppers (jarred roasted capsicum), deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- scant ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper or chilli flakes
- 75-115g egg fettuccine per person
- 85g goat's curd
- 2 tbsp herbs, such as basil, marjoram or flat-leaf parsley
- To make the romesco, place all ingredients into a blender and blitz to a pesto consistency. If it seems really thick, simply thin out with a little water or olive oil, adding it a tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Strain and return to the saucepan, adding half the romesco. Using tongs, work the romesco over the pasta. Crumble over the goat's curd while it is still nice and warm.
- Divide the pasta among serving plates, top with about 1 tablespoon of extra romesco per serve and scatter with herbs. Season again with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 4 (with some leftover romesco)