Alida says: “A while ago a few of my friends and I had a conversation about getting a toddler to eat vegetables. One friend mentioned that she had started pureeing pumpkin as a pasta sauce and that her very fussy little boy gobbled it all up. It was then that I remembered that I had been doing that for ages but not to get a fussy eater to eat their vegetables but simply because it tastes really amazing. I’ve actually done it with a lot of vegetables, especially ones I have in the fridge that have seen better days. Cauliflower, sweet potato, courgettes, spinach and broccoli all work a treat. It’s also a great way to cheat your way to a creamy sauce without actually using any cream.
To get the most out of the pumpkin, I roasted it with a drizzle of honey and a few sprigs of fresh thyme until they were caramelized and sweet. I then pureed the little orange cubes with a splash of milk until smooth and creamy. To add even more flavour to the sauce (and so that it’s not literally pasta in mushed pumpkin), I sautéed off an onion and a little garlic until soft and fragrant before adding the puree and a splash of stock. This was simply warmed through and just before mixing with the pasta, I added a teaspoon of the bacon fat (because, uh, why the heck not?!) and a handful of finely grated Parmesan which melted into the sauce and added serious depth and flavour.
Of course crispy bacon was added because this is the Ryder household and bacon is as much a part of our lives as breathing and watching Jimmy Fallon. And also because its smoky, saltiness goes so well with the sweet, earthy pumpkin sauce. An easy, bloody delicious pasta with hidden vegetables even the fussiest of eaters will love? You’re welcome!”
Creamy pumpkin pasta with crispy bacon
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour 10 mins
for the pumpkin sauce
3 cups chopped pumpkin
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
handful fresh thyme
½ cup milk
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½-1 cup chicken/vegetable stock
1 teaspoon bacon fat (reserved from the crispy bacon)
large handful grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
500g pasta, cooked (I used linguini) (reserve 1 cup of cooking water)
crispy bacon bits
extra Parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a baking tray with foil.
Combine the pumpkin, honey, salt and olive oil in a mixing bowl then transfer to the prepared baking tray. Add the thyme and place in the oven.
Allow the pumpkin to roast for 30-45 minutes until starting to caramelize and cooked through.
Remove from the oven, discard the thyme and transfer to a bowl then puree with an emersion blender. Add a splash of milk to make the blending a little easier.
In a large frying pan, fry the onion and garlic until soft and translucent then add the pumpkin puree and stock. Allow to come to a simmer then stir in the bacon fat.
Remove from the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Season to taste.Stir in the cooked pasta and toss to coat well. At this stage you can add a little of the pasta’s cooking water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
Serve the pasta topped with crispy bacon and a grating of Parmesan cheese.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Alida Ryder is one of my favourite food people. Excellent cook, recipe developer, great photographer. Her website has a huge following and she is doing things she could only have dreamed of a few years ago. She’s written two books Simple & Delicious and Cook from the heart. Click here to go to her fabulous website. Click here to buy her first e-book.