Pity the poor pumpkin. It gets dragged out and plopped into everything the instant the calendar page flips over from August to September, and it suffers a nonstop barrage of unlikely pairings pretty much straight through until December. Pumpkin spice latte! Pumpkin lager! Pumpkin breakfast cereal! Pumpkin yogurt and jello and risotto and air freshener and pet shampoo! ENOUGH. And then, poor pumpkin, it gets placed back on the shelf for the better part of a year and everyone forgets about it, unless it's to say something like, Ohhhhh no, not pumpkin, I am SO SICK OF FREAKING PUMPKIN. Hashtag BASIC.
Not me. I am a year round, card-carrying Friend of Pumpkin (currently organizing local chapters in a town near you).
For starters, it's amazing for you, full of fiber and vitamin C and heart-healthy potassium. Even better, the canned version is readily available even when fresh pumpkins can't be found (and is eleventy million times easier to work with, if we're being honest here), and unlike every other canned vegetable, tastes equally great. When it's still bitingly cold outside (oh hello, February!) and you don't want a meal so much as a warm hug nestled onto a plate, pumpkin should be your go-to addition for soups, breads and......my new favorite thing, pasta.
Pureed pumpkin whisked together with the binding, starchy goodness of pasta water and a handful of cheese becomes a silky, lighter version of traditional carbonara that packs a more nutritional punch than the original--perfect for those long winter days when you're feeling your most bleaahhhh. My version is loosely based on the excellent recipe in Bon Appetit that first gave me the idea, and I love both equally. Get this gorgeous gourd on your plate today and let's be year round Friends of Pumpkin together!
Pumpkin Carbonara with bacon
Makes: 4 Servings
- 6 oz. bacon, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup shallot, finely chopped
- 16 oz. fresh fettucine (definitely preferred, but dried is okay), or 12 oz. dried fettucine
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- Heat a large skillet to medium, add bacon and cook, stirring often, until bacon is browned but still soft. Add shallot and saute until softened, then remove from heat and set mixture aside in a bowl.
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling, add fettucine. Cook for 1-3 minutes if using fresh (or until done but slightly al dente), or according to package instructions if using dried.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Return cooking water to empty pot, add pumpkin and bacon-shallot mixture and whisk together over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of Parmesan, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Add pasta and toss to coat well, allowing everything to cook together for another minute.
- Remove from heat and plate pasta, sprinkling with additional Parmesan and chopped parsley.