Added by Mia | Sat 31 Oct 2009 @ 19:51
There is nothing more lovely and filling on a chilly fall evening than a warm bowl of this pasta. The pumpkin is tender and its sweetness so beautifully accentuated by the earthiness of the thyme. Sage also complements pumpkin; both herbs go equally well, so it depends upon what is growing on your kitchen sill. This is one of those pastas that I consider \"worth it,\" because I don\'t eat pasta very often. Not only do I feel bathed in deliciousness, much like feeling the sun on my face ... but by lowering the ratio of pasta to pumpkin, you end up eating less pasta and feeling just as satiated. Something I always do, whenever a recipe calls for vegetable stock, is to make my own. It requires barely any effort and takes such little time, I don\'t know why people use those cubes. Use any vegetable scraps: tops of leeks, ends of onions or carrots, celery bits, onion skins, those tough fennel stalks ... anything you\'ve got leftover from what you\'ve used during the week ... and throw them in 4 cups of boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes and strain. That\'s it! I keep a plastic bag of my leftover odds and ends in my veg drawer. Pumpkins ... in Germany, I find little hokkaido pumpkins readily available so I use those. As an alternative, you could use sugar pumpkins, or smallish butternut squashes. Here is a nifty website that tells you all about pumpkins (and squashes) and surprisingly (not really. it\'s my luck), makes no mention of the Hokkaido. But I assure you, it exists. Happy Halloween everyone! Even though nobody celebrates it here, and all dancing and music is forbidden after 12 tonight in holiest Bavaria, I can at least have some really good pasta.
1/2 pound rigatoni or other tubular pasta,
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil,
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped,
1/4 cup brown sugar,
1 hokkaido pumpkin or other smallish pumpkin or squash,
2 cups vegetable stock,
1 teaspoon cinnamon,
2 teaspoons lemon juice,
2 teaspoons fresh thyme; you could also use sage, but use less!
Salt and freshly ground black pepper,
Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan of your choice,
Peel, de-seed, and cut the squash or pumpkin into chunks. Cook the rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the onion, and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the brown sugar and cook until it has dissolved.
Add the pumpkin and the vegetable stock, and reduce the heat so that the sauce is just simmering. When the sauce is thickened, and the pumpkin is soft, add the cinnamon, lemon juice, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the pasta, adding a little bit of the hot pasta water if you need to loosen the sauce a bit.
Serve with a big lump of parmesan in a grater!