One pumpkin that I promise won’t scare you!

It’s Halloween and time for fancy dress parties, and trick or treating and of course scary looking pumpkins. So I thought it would be the perfect time to share this recipe for Penne with Pumpkin, Crispy Pancetta, Sage and Parmesan. Look for small organic pumpkins called Jack O Lantern, now grown all over Ireland. They are a vibrant orange and they are the ideal size for this recipe. Hope you enjoy.

PUMPKIN PERFECTON... Just a gorgeous way to use your pumpkin at halloween

PUMPKIN PERFECTON… Just a gorgeous way to use your pumpkin at halloween

Ingredients

  • 500 g penne or rigatoni
  • 4 tblsp olive oil
  • 175 g pancetta or smoked
  • streaky bacon lardons
  • 800 g small pumpkin, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 tblsp finely shredded fresh sage
  • 250 g carton mascarpone cheese (kilbeg if possible)
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to garnish
  • 25 g toasted pine nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper

Method

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the penne or rigatoni and cook for 10–12 minutes or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  • Heat a large heavy-based pan with the olive oil, then add the pancetta or smoked streaky bacon lardons. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta begins to go crispy.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside until needed. Add the pumpkin to the pan with the sage and mix well to combine.
  • Season to taste and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is cooked through but still holding its shape. Stir in the mascarpone and simmer for 1–2 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the pumpkin with the reserved crispy pancetta. Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste. Divide among warmed wide-rimmed bowls and finish each one with a sprinkling of Parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper.
  • Sprinkle over the pine nuts to serve.
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