Pasta with pumpkin sauce is a way to enjoy a creamy pasta without resorting to indulging in too much cream, cheese, or the like. There’s no doubt this is a treat meal. The pasta is certainly not ideal, being a somewhat processed food. However, this is made marginally better these days by a prevalence of wheat-free/wholegrain alternatives.
We have experimented with a whole range of different noodles, from buckwheat to brown-rice, millet, and quinoa. Different dishes favour different noodles. Buckwheat for example have quite a strong flavour of their own, so benefit from a more robust sauce, perhaps one with Asian-inspired flavours. Here, with a rather mild and creamy Italian-esque dish, we find the blandness of a millet noodle works well.
As per usual, there is always the possibility to amend the recipe using a range of ingredients to add the extra creaminess to this dish, or not. One can equally appreciate the flavours of a good pumpkin, roasted, and blended with a little good-quality olive-oil as something perfectly fitting for a nice autumnal Saturday night dinner.
Equally, one can play around with the pasta, substituting, for example, a penne or fusilli shape. Perhaps, adding a little more liquid in the form of dairy-free milk, stock, or water, and turning the pasta and sauce out into a baking dish and into the oven. Add a little breadcrumbs or cheese if you eat it, sprinkled over the top of the dish to add another pleasing element as well as textual balance.
(serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side-dish)
- 1 small pumpkin
- 2 cups dairy free milk (or, 1 cup stock/water, 1 cup milk)
- 1/3 cup cashews (soaked for 4 hours if time allows), or, ½ cup tahini, or cream If you use it
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs cider vinegar
- 1 tbs yeast flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 1 packet millet noodles (they usually come in three bundles. We use 1.5 of these for the two of us).
- Preheat the oven to 180. Cut the pumpkin in half and place on an oiled/grease-proof paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 mins until soft. Remove and cool.
- Peel the pumpkin, remove its seeds and place in a blender.
- Drain the cashews if using, and add to the blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- In the meantime, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Reserve a little of cooking water in case of wanting to thin the sauce out a little.
- If assembling the dish without baking: when cooking the pasta, warm the sauce a little in a heavy-pan and then you can toss the pasta with it when done.
- If baking: grease a oven-proof dish. Toss the pasta and sauce together and bake for 30 mins, covered, at 150 degrees. Uncover and grill for 5 minutes for a crispy top at the end if you fancy this.