The Novice Gardener recently posted an amazing, mouth watering recipe – and then another – for preparing pumpkin. Then, My Favourite Pastime blogged about a new, creative spin on pesto. Somehow, the inspiration for this pasta dish came from two places – and married into a soulful, satisfying pasta meal.
Oh me. Oh my. My husband and I adore pasta. It is a passion derived from our days as long-distance runners… way back in “the day” we were svelte, speedy. We didn’t push a three- and one-year-old in a double stroller! We ran like gazelles.
Past are the days of carbohydrate-loading before Sunday long-runs and races. Here are the days of walks to the park, eighty hour work weeks and realizing our metabolisms are not what they once were. Still, we exercise as much as we can – and try to use more portion-control than we did a decade or two ago!
Without question, Abba and Ima (hubby and me!) still take great pleasure in well-prepared, decadent pasta meals. These days, we incorporate fresh, seasonal produce; fine, aged artisan cheese; savory, nutritious seeds or nuts and fantastic tasting, bright, bold pesto. You only live once, I will not live without pasta.
Abba loves fresh fish – and goes “GA-GA!” for a pasta bar – as well as vegetables in any shape or form. He has had many long days and nights at the hospital lately. He works at the only Level I Trauma Center in our state, and the physicians see the worst of the worst – and work hard as H-Double-Hockey-Stick to give the best care possible. So, to give Abba a nutritional – and psychological boost – I set-up a colorful, textually juxtaposed, healthy and flavorful pasta bar!
This recipe utilizes quite a few previous Curls and Carrots recipes, so check the links below for tips and tricks! Well, what are we waiting for? Into the kitchen we stroll! With a glass of red wine, of course. Let’s get cooking!
Roast your crisp, nutty seeds in a 400°F (204°C) oven until golden, about ten to fifteen minutes.
The salmon roasts at the same temperature – and for an equal amount of time (ten minutes) – as the pumpkin and seeds.
Roast the salmon for about ten minutes – at the same times as the pumpkin seeds. The seafood will emerge from the oven exquisitely cooked.
Roast the cubed pumpkin with a little olive oil, salt and pepper at the same time as the rest of the meal, also at 400°F.
Cook the squash to velvety, tender succulence in about 30 minutes.
Roasted pumpkin is creamy and crunchy – salty and sweet – the best of all worlds.
Reserve your pumpkin for later use, along with your salmon and seeds.
Boil well-salted water with a touch of oil. Cook organic, whole wheat penne for about fifteen minutes, to al dente.
Whole grain pasta takes longer regular varieties to cook – and is worth the wait.
Take care to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water after the pasta has cooked.
Whole wheat, organic semolina pasta from Italy is nutty, toothsome and savory.
Toss pasta with a tad of garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking.
Grate the sharpest, strongest, hardest Italian cheese that you have on hand. I chose a robust, pungent and mature Italian goat variety.
Prepare arugula walnut pesto, a fabulous recipe from Liz of My Favorite Pastime. It is a spicy, garlicy, oh-so-tasty treat! Delicious.
Dilute 1/2 cup of Liz’s arugula walnut pesto with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, until the desired consistency is reached.
The pesto should be thin enough to drizzle over the pasta – but not too diluted.
Thank you for visiting Curls and Carrots, friends. Enjoy! L’chayim!
Perfect Pumpkin Pasta Bar
A fantastic, fresh and fun-filled family meal – and elegant enough for company.
- 1 small pumpkin pie pumpkin, cubed (including skin) and seeds reserved
- 8 ounces whole wheat, organic semolina penne pasta, cooked to al dente in salted water
- 1/2 cup of pasta water
- 1/2 cup pesto, prepared or store-bought
- 2 to 4, 4 ounce salmon fillets or steaks
- Grated cheese, such as parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, or any mature, hard Italian cheese
- Roasted pumpkin seeds, reserved from the pumpkin pie pumpkin
- garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F or 204°C.
- Roast reserved, cleaned pumpkin seeds on a try with salt, pepper and a touch of garlic-infused olive oil. Cook for ten minutes.
- On separate cooking sheets or trays, toss the pumpkin cubes and salmon fillets in adequate amounts of garlic-infused olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Roast the salmon for ten minutes, until it flakes with a fork. Roast the pumpkin for 30-45 minutes, until golden and tender.
- Cook your pasta to al dente in salted water, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid after the pasta has finished cooking. Drain pasta.
- Toss pasta in a small amount of garlic-infused olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Mix 1/2 cup of pesto with 1/4-1/2 cup of reserved pasta water, just until thin but not too diluted – just runny enough to drizzle over hot pasta.
- Set up your pasta bar: pasta, salmon, pesto, cheese and pumpkin. Build your plate as you wish – and enjoy! Salud!
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.