Topped with chopped hazelnuts, fried sage leaves and red pepper flakes, this Spaghetti with Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce—sponsored by La Cucina Italiana—is autumn made edible. And by the way, the sauce comes together quickly while the pasta is cooking. So simple!
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I’m always looking for new ways to use canned pumpkin during the fall months, and this spaghetti recipe is my latest development. To make this Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce, you start by sauteing up some garlic and shallot in butter until tender. Then, you stir in a whole can of pumpkin puree and chicken stock. After a short simmer, you finish the sauce with a little cream, Parmesan, nutmeg and lemon juice.
The finished sauce is warm and silky with a sharpness from the lemon and Parm. Keep in mind that there’s no pumpkin spice in this recipe! Often the flavor that people associate with pumpkin is actually pumpkin spice. Here, the pumpkin adds a subtle vegetal flavor while providing most of the body to the sauce.
Chopped, toasted hazelnuts, fried sage leaves and crushed red pepper flavors sprinkled on top make sure that you get a little variation in flavor with each bite. So. Yum. Continue reading for the recipe.
La Cucina Italiana, an Italian cooking magazine, recently launched an American version of their website, featuring classic and modern recipes, tutorials, videos, cultural stories and culinary travel itineraries. In addition to their digital resources, La Cucina Italiana is also publishing a quarterly print magazine sold in Eataly or via digital subscription. I’m definitely going to grab one the next time I’m up in LA!
One of my favorite collections on their new website is their Italian pasta recipes. You’ll find classics like Potato Gnocchi and Pasta alla Gricia along with some fun, inventive recipes like Ravioli Carbonara and Saffron Lasagna with Ossobuco Ragù. I’d like to think that this Spaghetti with Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce would fit in with La Cucina Italiana’s creative pasta dishes 🙂
Like I mentioned at the top, this sauce comes together pretty quickly. You can make it while the pasta is cooking as long as you’ve got all the ingredients and toppings prepared in advance. The toppings aren’t required here, and this sauce would actually be pretty kid-friendly without them! However, I think that they really do add some excitement to each bite, so I’d highly recommend you include them.
I am featuring chopped, toasted hazelnuts here (without skins). Their grassy, golden flavor pairs really well with pumpkin. If you can’t easily find skinned hazelnuts, you could use walnuts instead.
Fried sage leaves, another topping in this recipe, are really easy to make. Just warm up a little olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, drop in 8 to 10 sage leaves and cook for just 3 seconds. I like to use a fork to fish out the leaves and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Season the leaves with a little salt, and then repeat this process with remaining leaves. You can do all of this before you start making the spaghetti and sauce. They’ll stay crispy for a few hours.
Spaghetti with Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
Chopped toasted hazelnuts (or walnuts), for serving
Fried sage leaves*, for serving
Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving
Bring a large pot and salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente (10 to 11 minutes).
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Warm butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 3 minutes). Stir in pumpkin puree, chicken stock and 1 teaspoon salt. Let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add heavy cream, Parmesan, nutmeg and lemon juice. Stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce and the cream is fully incorporated. At this point, you don’t want the sauce to boil, so adjust heat if needed. Season to taste with additional salt and lemon juice.
Drain spaghetti, then add to the sauce, tossing to evenly coat. Divide spaghetti between 4 bowls, and top each with a dusting of Parmesan, chopped hazelnuts, fried sage leaves and red pepper flakes to taste. Enjoy immediately!
* To make fried sage leaves, warm a couple tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan. Once hot, drop in 8 to 10 sage leaves. They should sizzle right away. Cook for 3 seconds, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat with remaining sage leaves. You’ll need 5 to 6 leaves per serving, and perhaps make a few extra to serve on the side!
This post has been sponsored by La Cucina Italiana. All thoughts and opinions are my own.32