Pumpkin Angel Hair Pasta with Kale Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Putting pesto on pasta is like pulling on a warm wool sweater in the fall.  Warm, thick, comforting.  Traditional Italian basil pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.  There are so many different kinds of pestos out there, though–nearly every culture has a pesto-like sauce {Chimichurri?  Romesco?}  Just take a veggie (leafy greens, roasted peppers, herbs), add nuts or seeds (walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.), any other flavor booster (parmesan cheese, garlic, acid, etc.), and blend.  Voila.  You have a gourmet fall time pasta at your fingertips.

In the summer, my favorite pasta meal is angel hair pasta with sautéed zucchini and lemon zest.  It is so, so fresh and bright.  I decided to fall-i-fy that dish with pumpkin angel hair pasta topped with a kale pumpkin seed pesto.  That’s right, topping pumpkin with more pumpkin.  This dish is perfectly warm, perfectly nutty, perfectly fall, perfectly pumpkin.

I used the same batch of pumpkin pasta dough as my pumpkin fettuccine.  Remember–just roast the pumpkin and add to your pasta flour mix.  If you make the full batch of pasta dough, you will end up with a couple meals–but hey, you’ve spent time and effort making homemade pasta, may as well get more than one meal out of it, right?  With these pastas, we ate the fettuccine the night I made the pasta, and I let the angel hair pasta sit on the counter (it dried and hardened), and made it for dinner two days later.

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If you’d rather use store bought pasta for a quick weeknight meal, the pesto will still carry lots of pumpkin flavor!  Seriously, for a weeknight all you’d have to do is take 8-10 minutes to boil the pasta, and spend 60-90 seconds blending the ingredients, and you’re ready to eat.  BUT if you made that full batch of pasta dough, and let one of your pastas rest for a couple days, your gourmet homemade pasta weeknight dinner will take you the same amount of time.  Less, even, because fresh pasta cooks faster than dried store bought pasta.

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Voila.  Oh, and as a side note, there are 12 grams of protein in 1 cup of pumpkin seeds.  Just in case you were wondering.

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PUMPKIN ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH KALE PUMPKIN SEED PESTO

  • Servings: 4-6, depending on how hungry you are
  • Time: 60-90 seconds for the pesto itself, at least 1 hour for pasta from scratch (but if you already have pasta ready to go, you just need to cook it)
  • Difficulty: super easy for the pesto, a little on the harder end for homemade pasta
  • Print

I followed Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour Basic Pasta Recipe, and added Roasted Pumpkin.  You can definitely break up the labor over a couple of days–roast the pumpkin one day, store in the fridge, and add it to your pasta mix within 2-4 days from roasting.  Also, I used this amount of dough to make two different pasta dinners that served two hungry adults and had a small container of leftovers the next day.  If you wish to have less, cut the ingredients in half.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTA

  • 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced thinly

INGREDIENTS FOR THE KALE PUMPKIN SEED PESTO

  • 2 cups packed kale
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and toasted 60-90 seconds in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast flakes, if you wish to keep it vegan
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a couple shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
  • salt just to taste (there will be saltiness from your pasta, your salted boiling water to cook the pasta, and the parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast flakes, as well as on your sautéed zucchini–taste your pesto before adding more salt!)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, skin on, cleaned of seeds, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a cookie sheet and roast on the middle rack in the oven for at least one hour.  The pumpkin should be soft when poked with a knife or fork.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Mix semolina flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center.  In the blender, mix the roasted pumpkin, eggs, water, and olive oil until blended to a smooth consistency.  Add to the semolina flour and stir together until a rough dough forms.
  3. Use all-purpose flour to cover the work surface and to add to the dough while kneading.  Dump the dough out onto the floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and soft, not sticky.  You will add up to 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour while kneading.  Once a smooth ball forms from kneading, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Press the dough through your pasta maker–a thinner pasta like angel hair or thin spaghetti will work best for this recipe.  Let the pasta dough rest on parchment paper and fill a large pot with water to boil.  The fresh pasta will take just 3-4 minutes to cook.  Drain and put back in the large pot.
  5. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the zucchini slices, salt and pepper to taste, and saute until soft and slightly golden.
  6. Add the first 6 pesto ingredients (kale through red pepper flakes) in a blender.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to help with the blending, and pulse until the kale starts to break down and blend.  Continue to push the ingredients down with a spatula and pulse, adding olive oil in a continuous stream until you get the desired smooth consistency.  You will add between 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil.
  7. Add the sautéed zucchini to the pasta in the pot and at least 1/4 cup pesto to start.  Stir gently and add more pesto as desired.  Serve topped with more pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes.

*The pesto recipe will yield at least 1 cup of pesto.  Any extra freezes well in ice cube trays, just pour in the trays, top with a little olive oil, freeze, and pop the cubes out in a freezer bag when done.  Lasts about 4-6 months in the deep freeze.

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