Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe.
This is where the world stops as we make pumpkin cacio e pepe!
Oh yes oh yes oh yes.
Guys, I wasn’t planning on sharing this recipe until later this month, but after I posted a quick sneak peek on instagram last week, I knew I had to share it NOW. So many of you have requested it and I figured it had to be out in all of its pumpkin glory. That way we (it?) can enjoy all of pumpkin season!
Because newsflash: it’s amazing.
It’s crazy because cacio e pepe isn’t even a dish I would order until about two years ago. I have never LOVED black pepper to the point where I want to eat a dish that bears its name. You know? Growing up, I shunned most pepper sprinkles and even now, I rarely say yes to freshly ground black pepper in a restaurant.
Like many other dishes, this is one that I once disliked and all of a sudden came around to. When I mean “all of a sudden,” I truly mean it that way. This has happened to me with so many foods, recipes and dishes that it’s unbelievable. For years, I can have an unsubstantiated mental block against a food, only to see a photo of it in a magazine that looks crave-worth and BOOM.
I’m crazy about it. Just like that.
That’s what happened with cacio e pepe, so a few years ago I started making it and fell in love. It reminds me of a not-as-heavy carbonara, even though I know the ingredients are different. It’s such a simple, flavorful and classic dish that it’s hard to pass up.
Or in my brain, trash up.
I know I know! Cacio e pepe is so delicious on its own, why do we have to go and add PUMPKIN?
Well, first of all, I’m much more into pumpkin in a savory form than I am in a sweet. Clearly. Considering that less than a week ago, I made pumpkin queso!
And here I find myself, rambling on and on about pumpkin and cheese. Again.
It’s so very worth it. Promise you that.
The pumpkin is mild. It’s nothing to freak out over. If anything, you can look on the bright side: it adds extra fiber to this dish!
I do find that adding a few grates of nutmeg or even a shake of cinnamon help to bring out the flavor. It tastes like squash pasta, so you could easily sub in butternut squash or your gourd of choice.
It’s cheesy, and squashy and might just replace this butternut squash carbonara as my favorite squash pasta dish.
Maybe we should have a side-by-side taste test!
Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe
- 1/2 pound pasta of your choice (I used campanelle)
- 1 to 2 cups reserved pasta water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for topping
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
- parmesan shavings for topping
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta has cooked, you want to make sure to reserve 2 cups of the pasta water.
While the water is boiling/pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter melts, stir in the garlic with a pinch of salt and all of the pepper. Toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree until combined.
Stir in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the nutmeg and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add idn the pasta and toss it together. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the parmesan and pecorino. Toss until the cheese is melted and becomes somewhat of a sauce with the water and the pasta. If needed, you can add in more of the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce.
Serve immediately with extra parmesan shavings and freshly cracked black pepper.
My kind of comfort food!