Pasta salads are always a hit in our household. They are so versatile, and what I love most is that they are a one-pot wonder, and not at all fussy. Once assembled, they can be ignored until everyone’s ready, and then served at room temperature. It’s a relief to be able to prepare each ingredient separately, and then just throw it all together at the last minute.
This brilliant gem of a recipe was one I got given when requesting delicious pumpkin recipes are few months back. These were the instructions I was given: Roast pumpkins in olive oil in the oven; add some pine nuts at the end. Fry up some bacon. Toss thru pasta w pesto mix, pumpkin and bacon and fresh spinach leaves. Top with shaved Parmesan. Xx
Fair enough. I can work with that. But for those who like more detailed instructions, here they are:
Rachel’s Pumpkin and Pesto Pasta Salad
With some help from the Neff Kitchen
What you need –
1 kg butternut or Kent pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g shortcut bacon, diced
400g orecchiette or other pasta
1/2 cup basil pesto
100g baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Here’s how –
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two baking pans with cooking spray and place cubes of pumpkin on tray. Drizzle with oil and then cook for 45 minutes or until soft through and golden.
Add diced bacon with a little oil to frying pan, and fry until crispy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of slightly salted water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add pasta, stir until boiling then reduce heat to medium and boil until pasta is just tender. Drain well. Return hot pasta to pan and stir in pesto to coat.
Add pumpkin, spinach, bacon and parmesan and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with pine nuts to serve.
Just as good served piping hot, or heated the next day as leftovers.
Cooking tips –
– This recipe is a great way to use up left over roasted pumpkin.
– If using fresh pasta, increase quantity to 600g
– To toast pine nuts, toss in a hot non-stick pan, or spread on an oven tray and bake with pumpkin until golden.
– Even better heated the next day as leftovers.