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.
- 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
- 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.