I had trouble coming up with a title for this post. If you google “pumpkin pasta” a pile of recipes will pop up for pumpkin sauces to toss with cooked pasta—and those do look delicious. But in this recipe, the pasta itself contains the pumpkin—and quite a bit of it.
A Pumpkin by Any Other Name
Last week a kabocha squash led me on a pasta making odyssey. It had been hanging around for a couple of weeks and I thought I better use it up. So I roasted it, peeled it, puréed the flesh and roasted the seeds. (Click here for how to cook a whole pumpkin—or squash—in the oven.)
I decided to make fresh pasta with the purée and some flour—just two ingredients. I didn’t have any white flour on hand and so I used whole wheat only.
Because I didn’t feel like hauling out the pasta machine, I made small shapes called malloreddus using a gnocchi board. To make these, first roll the pasta dough into long, thin ropes, then cut off small pieces. Next, place a piece of pasta on the board. With your thumb, push down into the dough to make an indentation and roll the dough down and off of the board.
You’ll feel like a little kid again, playing with Play-doh. Speaking of which, your kids will enjoy making pasta with you—or on their own for you.
After you’ve formed several of these shapes, you’ll get the hang of it and the meditative work goes quickly. If you don’t have a gnocchi board, try forming these on the back of a fork’s prongs. For more shapes, watch the video below. I could watch this guy all day long…
If you enjoy that video, you may also like Pasta Grannies on YouTube. I feel like there should be a YouTube equivalent to Emmys and that these Pasta Grannies should win them all.
The pasta tasted very good but the whole wheat left a little bit of an aftertaste. When I made pasta again the next day, I used the same proportion of ingredients but with white flour and I also added a bit of salt. That tasted even better. The flour didn’t leave any aftertaste and the salt brought out the flavor of the pumpkin.
Fresh Pumpkin Pasta Dough
For my third batch of dough on this odyssey, I puréed the flesh of a fresh pie pumpkin that I cooked in a mere eight minutes in my pressure cooker. (Click here for how to cook a pumpkin in a pressure cooker.) I used half white flour and half semolina. Once again, I made the small spiral shapes with this dough. This batch tasted the best of all—so far. The pumpkin tasted sweeter and more delicate than the squash.
For the next batch of pumpkin pasta dough, I set up the pasta machine and cranked out linguine. These tasted fantastic! If you don’t have a pasta machine, to make long noodles, roll the dough out into a thin rectangle. Dust generously with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to itself as you roll it up lengthwise into a log. Slice off noodles.
- This pasta tastes best if you cook it immediately. If you do store it in the refrigerator to cook later, first dust it very generously with flour as it sticks together.
- Cook it quickly—in a couple of minutes—and do not overcook it. When it floats to the top of the pot, test a piece.
- If you do use a pasta machine to make linguine, roll it a bit thicker than usual. My machine runs from 0 (thick) up to 9 (very thin). I stopped rolling at 5. Usually I go up to 7.
- Tweak this recipe and experiment. If you don’t have semolina, use only all-purpose flour. If you don’t have all-purpose, use only semolina.
- Don’t skip the resting phase. Resting the dough helps the gluten form, which prevents the pasta from falling apart when you shape it. It also gives you time to make pasta sauce.
Homemade Pumpkin Pasta
- 1 cup white flour plus more for kneading and shaping
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
1. Combine flour, semolina and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the pumpkin purée. Mix together with a fork as well as you can.
2. Use your hand to incorporate the remaining flour.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
4. Let dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Shape the dough into desired shapes.
6. Boil in a pot of generously salted water for 1 to 2 minutes or until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).
7. Drain immediately in a colander, toss with your favorite sauce and serve.