Fettuccini with Roast Pumpkin, Lemon Basil Cream & Pecorino

SERVES 4-6

Simple midweek vegetarian to fill up the family. The important tasty extras to this recipe are the volume of pumpkin roasted with garlic (most recipes scrimp on this), a browned butter with sage and a big wack of basil. The final pasta dish is not overly saucy. The pasta with absorb most of the cream and the pumpkin will sort of dissolve into the pasta so that every bite is full of flavour. The final adornment with a decent grating of sheep’s cheese is what brings this to the next level.

ALL MY TIPS HERE These are the things that you learn from the times it didn’t work 😉 – You can roast the pumpkin up to the day before and store in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the sauce and pasta. Just be sure to cook just until tender and not mushy. I like to choose Jap for this, as I think it has the best flavour. For the cheese, you can use sheep’s pecorino or another firm goat’s or sheep’s cheese or even a combination of parmesan and a spoonful of Goat’s Chevre. The sauce is best cooked just before you are ready to serve. As long as the pumpkin is already roasted, you can put the water on to boil for your pasta and cook the sauce in the time it takes it to come to the boil. Choose a very large frypan to cook the sauce as you’ll end up tipping the pasta in and you don’t want it overflowing.

We have used home-made pasta here, but you can use dried fettuccini or store-bought fresh pasta. For my fresh pasta I use the most basic of recipes, 1 egg and 1/2 cup bread flour, per person, which makes a generous serving. This is a fabulous general guide so you can work out how much no matter how many guests you have (although Id never recommend making home-made pasta at home for more that 8-10 people). With these quantities, the final dough needs adjusting by adding more flour to reach the correct consistency. I won’t go into pasta-making in this recipe though, as I do think that this is a skill best taught in person.

WINE PAIRING – Serve this with a Viognier or Riesling if you’re wanting a white or choose a typically Italian Sangiovese or Pinot Noir, if your feeling the reds.



INGREDIENTS

1.2 kg Jap pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced into tiny 1 1/2cm dice.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 cloves garlic, peeled

50g butter

10 sage leaves

1 cup vegetable stock (or animal content free chicken stock)

3/4 cup cream

plenty of freshly cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups basil leaves

400g dried fettuccini or fresh fettuccini for 4

To Serve

grated pecorino or other firm goats/sheep’s cheese

freshly grated pepper

optional extras – toasted pine nuts, fresh rocket leaves


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius, fan-forced.

Toss the diced pumpkin in a bowl with the oil, garlic, salt and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. Arrange the pumpkin on one or two baking trays so that it is in one layer and not too overcrowded, otherwise it will steam and not caramelise. Place the trays in the oven and cook just until tender and caramelised in places. Take out of the oven and set aside, or refrigerate until ready to cook the pasta.

Fill a large pot with water, add a teaspoon or two of salt and place over high heat to bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, place a large frypan over high heat. Add in the butter and cook for a few minutes until brown and frothy. Throw in the sage leaves and let them cook for 30 seconds to crisp up.

Pour in the stock and cream. Bring to the boil and allow it to reduce for a few minutes until thickened. Crack in plenty of pepper and check for seasoning, adding a little salt if necessary, to taste.

Place the pasta in to cook. Once the sauce is at the righ consistency, you can place over a lid and turn off the heat to keep warm.

Just before the pasta is ready, turn the heat back on for the frypan. Drain the pasta and tip into the frypan, tossing to coat. Pour in the lemon juice, add the roast pumpkin and basil leaves and gently toss through the pasta.

To Serve

Serve immediately in bowls with a crack of black pepper and a generous handful of cheese. You can up the flavour with some rocket leaves and toasted pinenuts too.