Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Recipe Roundup: Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta

After last weeks pumpkin post, I had to re-group and get back to my health conscious ways! Every time I taste the pumpkin puree, even though I know what it tastes like, I am surprised at the lack of sweetness. When I think pumpkin, I think sweets (probably like most American's). The idea of pumpkin as being sweet is engrained in our minds. But in fact, pumpkin is not. Pumpkin in its cleanest, most naked form is rustic and savory....much like any winter squash. Oh right, pumpkin IS a squash!!

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |

I decided to throw a curve ball on my Pumpkin Recipe Roundup and come up with a savory recipe. Ryan is not the biggest fan of winter squash, so I had to come up with something that he would like despite his dislike of squash consistency. Ok, ladies and gentlemen, here is a test of your Kettler Cuisine blog loyalty. What ingredient do I like to add to recipes so that my sweet husband will eat it......BACON!! That's right, but in a more gourmet fashion, pancetta was used in this one. 

I did a pasta bake, or baked ziti if you will. Cheese and bacon was bound to win my husband over. This recipe could easily be swapped with butternut squash or other winter squash. While pumpkin has a bit more of a mild flavor, butternut squash is a tad bit sweeter. However, in the spirit of Fall, and our society's massive obsession, I decided to highlight true American fashion!!

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, divided

4 cups pumpkin, peeled and cubed (about 1 sugar pie pumpkin)
olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, cubed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces dried ziti pasta
5 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 T flour (for gluten free use corn starch or arrowroot)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche (or light cream cheese)
3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded (or sharp white cheddar cheese), divided

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and rub olive oil on the foil.

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |

Combine the pumpkin and about 1 T olive oil in a large bowl and stir to evenly coat the pumpkin. Spread the pumpkin in an even layer on the baking sheet and cook at 400F for about 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside. Leave the oven at 400F and grease a 13x9" baking dish.

Fill a large pasta pot with water and bring to a boil, while prepping the pancetta and onion mixture.

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |

In a large saute pan, cook the pancetta on medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving some of the drippings. Cook the red onion in the remaining drippings for about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for another minute. Set this aside.

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |

Once the pot of water starts to boil, cook the pasta until almost al dente (about 6-7 minutes). Add in the kale and cook for another minute and immediately strain and set aside.

In a sauce pan, bring 1 cup of vegetable broth to a boil. Take the remaining 1/4 cup of broth and mix with flour (or corn starch if doing a gluten free version) and stir into the boiling broth. Cook this for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and all the creme fraiche in small batches until melted and the sauce is creamy. Remove from heat, a creamy cheese sauce will result.

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |

In a large bowl stir the pumpkin, onion mixture, pancetta, pasta, kale and cheese sauce until evenly combined. Pour into a greased 13x9" baking dish and sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. Cook for 25 minutes in a 400F oven until bubbly and slightly browned on top.

Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta |


  1. This looks delicious!!! Maybe Mushrooms instead of Pancetta for a veg option?? Also, I heard that small pumpkins are 40% sweeter than the big use the big ones for this recipe, right?? And the little ones for baking...??

    1. Thanks Kendie! Yes, you are totally right on both fronts. Mushrooms would be a GREAT sub for vegetarians. Great suggestion! I used the small ones for both baking and cooking just b/c I like the sweeter ones :)

  2. For Those who want a bit of a lesson on picking the right pumpkin to make puree from AND how to do that, this 4 minute video will help, copy and paste this into your browser:


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