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
  • Difficulty: super easy for the pesto, a little on the harder end for homemade pasta
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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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Pumpkin. It’s What’s For Dinner.

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On with our pumpkin-y pumpkin-ness.  This beauty of a pumpkin was in a bin at the grocery store labeled “Autumn Color Pumpkins”.  I looked it up when I got home and discovered its official name is Jarrahdale.  I thought I would be confronting a pale or even white flesh, but imagine my surprise–and delight–when I cut into this pumpkin and found a glowing orange beauty of a pumpkin.

I used this medium-sized pumpkin for four separate meals, two different pastas, a pumpkin noodle dish, and a salad, so stay tuned!  I’m starting with the pastas, because wouldn’t you?!

Making your own pasta isn’t as difficult as you think.  And the results are well worth your time and effort.  I’ve tried a couple different pasta recipes, but my favorite is simply following the directions on the back of the bag from Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour.  When you’re adding flavors (i.e. veggies) to your pastas, the most important thing is to make sure you aren’t adding extra liquid.  Roasting is a good way to do that with the heartier vegetables–it adds a ton of flavor while slowly evaporating liquid, resulting in a sweet, creamy, flavorful, ready to eat squash.

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Only don’t dig in yet, we’re going to take it one step further!  Just blend your roasted pumpkin with eggs, water, and olive oil, and add it to your semolina mix.  Stir until it starts to form into a lumpy mass, dump it out on a floured surface, then call in your cutest sous chef to help knead your dough.

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I have dibs on mine.  When I’m making bread or pasta, he always comes running, drags his stool to the counter, and says, “Mama, I can help you mush mush mush!”  We use very technical terms in my kitchen.

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After kneading it and forming it into a ball, let it rest for 20-30 minutes, wrapped in a towel or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.  About the time it takes to unload the dishwasher.  Or load it.  Or both.  There always seems to be an abundance of dishes in my sink.  {Except for when my mom visits and she graciously takes on dish duty.  I actually see the bottom of my sink for more than a few hours in the afternoon.}

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I normally use my KitchenAid pasta maker, but I got a new gadget I had to try out!  I cut the ball of dough in half and made both Fettuccine and Angel Hair, with the Pumpkin Fettuccine getting gourmet treatment in an Asiago Cream Sauce and topped with toasted walnuts.  Ummmm, yeah.  I’m drooling just typing this out.  Admittedly, this is vegetarian and not plant-based/vegan with the Asiago Cream Sauce, but it’s definitely worth the splurge.  {Or, if you aren’t into splurging, you could always make my Cauliflower Corn Cream Sauce, omitting the half and half.}

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PUMPKIN FETTUCCINE WITH ASIAGO CREAM SAUCE AND TOASTED WALNUTS

  • Servings: 4-6, depending on how hungry you are
  • Difficulty: on the harder end, since everything is from scratch--but well worth your Saturday afternoon
  • 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 2 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

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ASIAGO CREAM SAUCE

  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups asiago cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

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 fettuccine or linguine will work best for this recipe.  Let the pasta dough rest on parchment paper and fill a large pot with water to boil.
  5. While waiting for water to boil, scald the half and half over low heat; do not let come to a boil.  When you see tiny bubbles forming around the edge of the pot, turn off the heat and add the asiago cheese and stir until smooth.  The sauce will be thin, but the noodles will  slurp up the sauce and help thicken it.  Keep the cream sauce covered and warm until you add the pasta to it.
  6. When the water comes to a boil, season the water with salt and cook the pasta for 4-5 minutes {Fresh pasta cooks much faster than store-bought dry pasta}.  After 4-5 minutes, transfer the pasta to the pot with the cream sauce and let rest, uncovered.  The pasta will continue to cook with the warmth from the cream sauce and thicken.  Serve topped with toasted walnuts.

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