When Hurricane Sandy was about to hit, I decided to make pasta with a butternut pumpkin that had been sitting around for a few weeks. With the unseasonably warm weather we’d been having, it hadn’t quite felt like the right time to crack it open, but I figured if we were about to be blown to Oz, I might as well have something hearty prepared. Let’s call this Eye of the Storm rigatoni. It gets a quick toss in the frying pan so the pasta crisps and the pumpkin chars. It’s healthy comfort food. Is that an oxymoron?
- 1 (about 1 kg) butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to drizzle
- salt and pepper, to season
- ½ cup sage leaves
- 350 g rigatoni
- ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
- freshly grated parmesan
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
Place the pumpkin, onion and garlic in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with the salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Finely chop half of the sage leaves, toss with the pumpkin mixture, then spread evenly over a large baking tray. Bake for 50 minutes, turning tray halfway, or until the pumpkin is soft.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the remaining sage leaves and cook until crisp, for about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, lightly salt, then crumble.
Return the pan to heat. Add the pasta and pumpkin mixture and cook for 3 minutes or until the pasta begins to crisp. Stir in the crumbled sage and pine nuts.
Serve with the parmesan on the side.
Recipe from The Tart Tart by Linda Xiao, with photographs by Linda Xiao.