Adapted from Going Veggie by Trudy Slabosz
Though it sounds like a super dense meal, surprisingly it is not. May I add that it is another great autumn recipe. I’ve always had the traditional pesto so it was interesting to try out this new combination. I loved the combination of pumpkin (kabocha squash in my case) with the pasta and pesto. Though it takes about 45-60 minutes to make, it is not a difficult recipe. Don’t be intimidated!
Yields 4-6 servings
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¾ teaspoons maple syrup
- Ground black pepper
- 3 cups spinach
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cups diced kabocha squash
- Bunch of fresh sage
- 9 ounces (250 grams) whole wheat pasta
- To make the pesto, add the pumpkin seeds to a heavy pan and dry roast over medium-low heat until they begin to crackle and pop. Remove them from the heat and drizzle the maple syrup on top along with the pepper. The maple syrup should almost candy when it hits the hot seeds. All to cool.
- Transfer the pumpkin seed mixture to a food processor. Add the spinach to the food processor. With the motor running, gradually add ¼ cup of olive oil until you have a loose pesto. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
- Throw the diced kabocha into a baking tray and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with pepper. Toss well and place in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
- When the kabocha pieces just begin to turn golden on the edges, add the sage leaves and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the squash is soft and golden and the sage leaves are crisp.
- Add the cooked pasta to the same heavy pan you dry roasted the pumpkin seeds in and toss over medium heat with the prepared pesto until well coated. Add the roasted kabocha and sage leaves. Toss gently to combine.
Comments: Alternatively, you can use regular pasta instead of whole wheat or any other kind you wish (the original recipe calls for spelt pasta). Originally, as the name suggests, the recipe is made with pumpkin but I had a kabocha squash sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be roasted so I decided to use that instead. If you wish, you can double the amount of pumpkin seeds and maple syrup and use half for the pesto and toss the rest in the final step with the pasta and pesto. I did not try it but this pasta would also probably be delicious sprinkled with some feta or goat cheese.