Pumpkin + Pasta = Love

Australians love their pumpkin!  Not that we North Americans don’t but we often use pumpkin as a sweet and not savory ingredient.  The availibily of pumpkin in each place reflects that.  In Australia there are a few varieties of eating pumkin sold whole or cut into sections and they tend to be mild in flavour and less dense.  They usually need roasting and seasoning to make them more interesting.  In North America there are less whole pumpkins for sale…unless its Halloween!  Canned pumpkin is commonplace and here in Australia they look at you as if you have two heads if you ask for pumpkin in a can!  If you do find whole eating pumpkins in NA they are often a sweeter, more dense variety for pies.

Australian Jarrahdale Pumpkin

Where ever you are these recipes are yum and would work with most varieties of pumpkin or butternut squash.  Keep in mind I made these recipes up so the quantities are just an outline, feel free to add other things and be creative!

Pumpkin Pasta Bake

  • 1/2 medium sized pumpkin or 1 whole butternut squash chopped and peeled
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2-3 cups whole wheat penne (or other small-ish pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (or milk alternative such as soy milk)
  • 1  tablespoon of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used brie bacause it was going off in the fridge.  Would be nice with ricotta, mascarpone, or any soft cheese)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Chop up the pumpkin into bite size pieces and remove the skin and any yucky strings and seeds.  Add the pieces to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and basil. Tip onto a cookie sheet (or two depending on how much you have) and roast at 450F/230C for 10-15 minutes.  Check that the pieces are browning, give them a flip and roast for another 10 minutes until nice and dark golden.  Take out of the oven and set aside.  Turn the oven down to 350F/175C.
  2. Cook the pasta, drain and set aside
  3. While the pasta is cooking, make a quick white sauce.  Melt the butter in a small pot.  Once melted add the flour and start whisking immediately to make a rue.  Whisk for about 1 min until the four and butter are well combined and smell cooked but not burned.  You don’t want any browning or burning here so don’t stop whisking!  Then add the milk and keep whisking until the sauce thickens.  If your sauce doesn’t thicken (yes sometimes we all have a bad day) you can cheat and add 1/2 tsp of cornflour/cornstarch to thicken it up.  Stir in salt and pepper to taste, pop the lid on to avoid as skin forming and set aside.
  4. Chop up your cheese of choice and grate the parmesan.
  5. Assemble the bake.  Grab a heatproof baking dish, size and shape don’t really matter.  If you like a crispier bake use a large dish to spread out the ingredients and make a more crispy surface area. Pour in the drained pasta and white sauce and give a good stir to coat.  Then add the pumpkin and spinach and mix.  Top with your cheese and grated parmesan and a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper.  Finally sprinkle the pepitas on top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is nice and melty and browned on top.

Ok onto the next recipe!  If you are very organised you can buy all the ingredients for both recipes and freeze one.   Lasagne is one of my favourite dishes and I love to experiment with different flavours and ingredients.  Its like pizza…anything goes!  I don’t think I have ever made the same lasagne twice. Well I might make this one again, it was a hit!

Pumpkin Lasagne

  • 1/2 medium sized pumpkin or 1 whole butternut squash chopped and peeled
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves
  • 2 large (500g) tubs ricotta cheese (drained in a mesh strainer if they contain a lot of liquid)
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Lasagne sheets (I used a box and a half, you can use fresh if you can get them)
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Chop and peel pumpkin as above for pasta bake recipe.  Add the pieces to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and basil.  Add the garlic cloves to the mix.  No need to peel them just get any loose skin off.  Tip onto a cookie sheet (or two depending on how much you have) and roast at 450F/230C for 10-15 minutes.  Check that the pieces are browning, give them a flip and roast for another 10 minutes until nice and dark golden. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.   The garlic should be golden on the surface and squishy inside. Turn the oven down to 350F/175C.
  2. While the pumpkin and garlic are roasting, sautee the onion in 2 tbps of olive oil and a little salt and pepper until soft, not browned.
  3. Pick out the roasted garlic and set aside. Tip the roasted pumpkin into a large bowl and use a blender stick to blend until nice and creamy (don’t overblend until total goop!) If you don’t have a blender stick you can mash with a potato masher but the results will be slightly less creamy.
  4. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its ‘shells’ and add to the pumpkin.  Also add the sauteed onion and give everything a good mix.
  5. Assemble the lasagne.  Lightly butter/oil the edges of the lasagne dish first.  Start with a thin layer of pumpkin on the bottom.  The order doesn’t really matter but I did Pasta, pumpkin, ricotta, spinach repeat. (see photo above)
  6. For the top I put a final layer of pasta topped with ricotta and then finely chopped fresh basil and finally the sliced fresh mozzarella. Mine ended up being about 4 layers but do as many as you can with the ingredients. It will also depend on the size of your lasagne dish.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and the cheese has melted.

If you have only had pumpkin in pie these recipes are certainly worth trying! Pumpkin is healthy, versatile, cheap and dare I say it….not only for Halloween.

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About healthyasahorsevet

I am a horse vet writing about life, food and my quest for health.
This entry was posted in Food. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pumpkin + Pasta = Love

  1. caron tindale says:

    Brilliant recipes, can’t wait to try them! CT

  2. Liz says:

    Yes, we do love our pumpkin! Sounds weird/gross, but one of my favourite parts about Sunday lunch at our Nana’s house was getting some really crispy (to the point of almost burnt) roasted pumpkin. And pumpkin soup is one of my favourites. I have got to make that pasta bake – have been looking for an excuse to buy some ricotta 🙂

  3. Let me know how it turns out!

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