Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts

This rich, earthy dish featuring canned pumpkin puree was inspired by stovetop mac and cheese. The hazelnut and chive garnishes lend an elegant touch to this hearty pasta.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup snipped chives

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until golden. Let cool. Rub off most of the skins and roughly chop.

  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic and sage and cook over moderately low heat until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the pumpkin puree and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Wipe out the pasta pot. Scrape the pumpkin puree into the pot and cook over moderately low heat until hot. Mix in the mascarpone and the 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water and toss to coat thoroughly and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle the hazelnuts and chives on top and serve right away, passing additional Parmigiano at the table.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat the sauce before tossing with the pasta and the pasta cooking water.

Contributed By Photo © Alexandra Rowley Published October 2012

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