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Playing Penne and Roasted Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto


  • 1 1/2 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1 1/2-inch dice
  • Olive oil, for drizzling plus about 1/3 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons almonds or pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 small red chili (such as Thai chili or pepperoncino) or 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley tops
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • About 1/3 to 1/2 cup, a fat handful, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 pound penne rigate or farro penne with lines


Serves: 4-6


Preheat oven to 425°F.
Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast until tender and brown at edges, about 20-25 minutes, turning once.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.
Place toasted nuts and seeds in a food processor with the chili pepper, orange zest, parsley, black pepper, salt, garlic and cheese, and pulse to finely chop. Stream in olive oil, about 1/3 cup, to form a pesto. Taste to adjust seasonings.
Salt boiling water and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water;  drain pasta and return to hot pot. Toss pasta with pesto and enough starchy water to coat; add squash and toss. Adjust seasoning and serve.