Roasted Pumpkin Penne with Autumn Pesto

Aired October 19, 2009

Serves Serves 4
1 cup flat leaf parsley tops, packed
1 cup baby spinach or farm bundled spinach leaves, packed
1 inch ginger root, grated or minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cloves garlic, grated or mashed into paste with salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon lemon zest plus juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 3/4 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound whole wheat penne or semolina penne rigate
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
Toasted lightly salted pumpkin seeds, available in bulk foods section of Markey, optional garnish

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place parsley, spinach, ginger, garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in food processor and turn processor on. Stream about 1/3 cup EVOO into processor to form a pesto sauce.

Drizzle the pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons EVOO and season with salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Roast 15 minutes, turn the cubes over and roast 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil for pasta, salt it and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy water just before draining. Drain pasta, return to hot pot, add reserved water and pesto, and toss to coat. Gently mix in the roasted pumpkin cubes and serve topped with lots of cheese and some pumpkin seeds.


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