Roasted Pumpkin Pasta with Thyme Browned Butter Sauce
Sometimes being a pretty decent home cook is a double-edged sword when we are out to eat. I’m certainly no food critic, but occasionally a restaurant dish will fall short because I know we could have made it better at home. Last fall we traveled to Vermont and had a very nice dinner at a very nice restaurant…except for my entree. It was fine, but not great, and definitely did not fulfill its potential. A pasta dish with roasted pumpkin and a browned butter sauce – that has all kinds of potential.
This fall I was waiting quite impatiently for pie pumpkins to be available so I could try my hand at this dish. I’m happy to report this version was much more what I had hoped for the first time around. The roasted pumpkin is creamy and slightly sweet, and when paired with the slightly nutty browned butter sauce, the combination is truly mouth-watering. The grated Gruyere is a semi-optional serving suggestion, but Ben and I agreed that it took this dish to another level. This is an easy yet sophisticated meal that is ideal for fall entertaining. Enjoy!
Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog. Head over to see my posts as well as more great recipes from the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!
Yield: 6-8 servings
For the pasta:
1 (2 lb.) sugar (pie) pumpkin
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. pasta shapes, such as orchiette
8 oz. baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
For the sauce:
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated cheese for serving, such as Gruyere or Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Halve, seed, and peel the pumpkin. Chop into ½-inch pieces. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until fork tender, tossing once during cooking.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain well.
While the pasta is cooking, first wilt the spinach leaves. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach to the pan with a few drops of water. Cover the pan and let heat just for a minute or two, until wilted, stirring as needed. Remove the spinach to a plate and set aside. Return the skillet to the heat.
To make the sauce, add the butter to the skillet over medium heat. Let melt and then heat the butter, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color (be careful not to burn it). Once the butter is browned, stir in the thyme leaves, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach leaves and squash. Toss the sauce mixture with the drained pasta. Serve warm with grated Gruyere or Parmesan, if desired.