Saturday, November 26, 2011

pumpkin, pancetta, and sage pasta

There is one thing I have learned in the past week: pumpkins are expensive in Zurich. Or to be more specific: pumpkin flesh is expensive (as I've only bough pieces of pumpkin, not an entire gourd). I let myself be sucked in early in the week by the container of pumpkin cubes: no rind or seeds to deal easy: 11 CHF ($12). And it wouldn't really have been a proper Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, right? No canned pumpkin for pie was to be found (my fault for grocery shopping on Thanksgiving day - I apparently missed the last can sold at Globus by a matter of minutes). My favorite gourmet grocery store Jemoli stepped in to save the day (for a price) with their store-made pureed pumpkin: 18 CHF ($20!!!).

The blow of the price was softened by the fact that the dishes made from the pricey pumpkin were both delicious. I've often said that pancetta makes everything better; I stand by that notion. The saltiness of the pancetta plus the sweet pumpkin and savory sage was a super tasty combination. I should warn that I really like sage. There is a lot of it in this dish. If you don't love sage as much as I do, you may consider reducing the amount that you include. Happy Thanksgiving week!

Pumpkin, Pancetta, & Sage Pasta
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt
white pepper
3 cups of pumpkin: peeled, seeded, and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup diced pancetta
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
about 20 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped (plus a couple for garnish)
1/2 lb. pasta: I used fresh spinach ricotta ravioli
1 handful of walnuts, toasted
1/4 c. parmesan, grated

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin with olive oil and a generous amount of salt and white pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 40-50 minutes until tender. Set aside.

Cook pancetta in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add butter, sage, and roasted pumpkin. Reduce heat to med-low and allow to continue to cook together while you cook the pasta.

Cook pasta according to directions. When it's done, remove by slotted spoon and add to pancetta-pumpkin pan. Toss gently. Serve topped with toasted walnuts and parmesan cheese. Garnish with reserved sage leaves.

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