Roasted Pumpkin Penne with Autumn Pesto

It has taken me a bit too long to post this recipe. Our internet was spotty and mostly nonexistent for much of the week and I just didn’t have it in my to find internet to write it to be honest! So here I am, finally writing it!

I have been really into Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals this week. The show, not the book(s)! It comes on food network about a billion times a day and I record all of them! They are short enough to watch during my break in classes and let’s not lie- Rachel just comes up with the best recipes! Like this one, this one, and even this one! I want to try ALL of them. (And I will, trust me!) I have a bookmark tab a mile long with “to make” recipes. If only I had enough time (and money for groceries) to do it all right now!

The recipe I made this week however was an offshoot of my obsession with 30 minute meals. I have been watching Rachel Ray’s daytime show again because I am so in love with 30 minute meals. I watched it every day with my mom until I moved out. It was our thing. We watched Rachel Ray, made salads and watched the Young and the Restless, and I went to class. I’m not quite into watching the Young and the Restless again, but I am back into Rachel! Anyway, she had a show a week or so back with a recipe for roasted pumpkin penne with autumn pesto. I missed everything else on the show, but I caught this recipe at the end and it looked amazing. It looked healthy, easy, fast, and yummy. So on Tuesday with VERY little time to make dinner, but a very large desire to do it, I tried her recipe. Let me tell you…. it was amazing. Kyle and I ate on our own (busy busy mismatching schedules!), but he called to tell me how obsessed he is with it. Generally when I make Kyle dinner, he eats it and moves on without a phone call. This warranted a phone call. It was just the perfect blend of everything yummy this time of year.

As far as following the recipe, I did it exactly as Rachel did, but I cut it in half as I am only feeding two and we generally don’t do well with leftovers. We still had leftovers and actually ate them with breaded, pan-fried chicken cutlets on Wednesday (an amazing mix that I definitely suggest!). I used the butternut squash rather than sugar pumpkin and didn’t top with pumpkin seeds, but otherwise it was exactly the same!

So her recipe can be found here, but I will copy it in the post for convenience! Definitely check out the website to see a video of Rachel making it (that’s what I love best about her recipes like this from the show!)…

ROasted Pumpkin Penne with Autumn Pesto

from Rachel RAy….

  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley tops, packed
  • 1 cup baby spinach or farm bundled spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or mashed into past with salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne or semolina penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Toasted lightly salted pumpkin seeds, available in bulk foods section of Markey, optional garnish

1) Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2) Place parsley, spinach, ginger, garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in food processor and turn processor on. Stream about 1/3 cup EVOO into processor to form a pesto sauce.

3) Drizzle the pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons EVOO and season with salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Roast 15 minutes, turn the cubes over and roast 15 minutes more.

4) Meanwhile, bring water to boil for pasta, salt it and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy water just before draining. Drain pasta, return to hot pot, add reserved water and pesto, and toss to coat. Gently mix in the roasted pumpkin cubes and serve topped with lots of cheese and some pumpkin seeds.

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