300 g Tipo '00' or plain flour , plus extra for dusting
600 g pumpkin or butternut squash , (save your seeds for toasting)
4 cloves of garlic
2 banana shallots
1 red chilli , optional
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh sage
40 g Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
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In a food processor, blitz the spinach and flour until a ball of dough forms, letting the machine do all the work. Touch the dough – it shouldn’t be sticky, you want a playdough consistency, so add a little more flour, if needed.
To make the pici, simply tear off 2cm balls, about 10g in weight, of dough and roll them out into long thin sausage shapes – think fine green beans – on a clean surface. The beauty is that they’re all different, so everyone can do it.
Place the pici onto a floured tray as you do it, making sure they don’t dry out. Set aside while you make the sauce.
Wipe out the food processor with a cloth (there’s no need to clean properly).
Cut the pumpkin or squash into rough chunks, reserving any seeds for toasting (ask an adult to help with this bit). Wash the stringy bits of squash off the seeds and leave them to dry.
Place the squash chunks in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
Peel the garlic and shallots, and add to the food processor with the chilli, if using. Pick in the leaves of the herbs and pulse again until well combined.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the squash mixture to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.
Add 2 ladlefuls of boiling water, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
When the sauce is nearly ready, add the pici to your pan of boiling salted water. If it’s freshly rolled it will only need about 5 minutes, but if you’ve let it dry give it 8 to 10 minutes, checking on it to make sure you get lovely al dente pasta.
Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Grate most of the Parmesan into the sauce, stirring until the cheese has melted, loosening with a little pasta water, if needed. Toss the pasta in the sauce to coat.
Place a small dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the reserved pumpkin seeds until golden.
Divide the pasta between your plates, finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grate over the remaining Parmesan cheese and serve.