Freshly grated nutmeg plus spicy sausage paste (and heavy cream!) are the secret ingredients in Rach's pumpkin spice pasta.
'Nduja, or Italian sausage paste, is "Calabrian in origin, from the southern part of Italy," Rachael explains. "You can use domestic or imported 'nduja — it's more and more readily available." She likes La Quercia or Tempesta 'nduja.
Rach uses Hokkaido pumpkin, also known as Red Kuri Squash, in this recipe but you can also use butternut squash or any other orange-flesh pumpkin or squash.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1-1 ½ pounds pumpkin or squash, peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
- About ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup chicken brodo, bone broth or stock
- ¼ to ⅓ cup 'nduja or Italian hot salami paste (Rach likes La Quercia or Tempesta)
- About ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1 cup grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Chopped parsley, to serve
- 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped toasted walnuts
Place a large pot of water on to boil, 5 to 6 quarts.
Place a cast iron enamel or other sturdy pot on stove over medium to medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add the garlic, thyme, pumpkin, nutmeg and brodo, partially cover and cook 15 minutes to soften, then remove and reserve ⅓ of the pumpkin. Use an immersion blender or processor to puree the pumpkin in the pan.
Place 'nduja in bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water and whisk to combine and melt the paste. Add to pumpkin puree. Reduce a minute or 2 and add cream, then turn heat to low, simmer.
Salt the water and cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve ¾ cup water. Drain pasta and add to sauce, toss 1 minute, then add cheese. Add water if pasta gets too tight. Top the pasta with reserved squash and the parsley and seeds or nuts.