Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe

Like all things (in my personal opinion) Italians make everything better. While dining at Pizzeria Da Attilio in Naples, I had a piece of pizza with pumpkin sauce instead of traditional pizza sauce. It was fantastic. I didn’t even realize right away it was pumpkin and describing the flavor as”not overly pumpkin” is right up my alley.

To be frank, I am not a pumpkin or pumpkin spice fan. Only once, have I taken a grimaced sip of a PSL to further confirm my distaste and I’ve never purchased anything pumpkin flavored with the first crisp breeze of fall.

My appetite was piqued when I saw this recipe on How Sweet Eats by my eternal chef girl-crush Jessica Merchant. I love, I mean love cacio e pepe. It’s simple, but when done right, remarkable. The addition of fresh pumpkin (it’s perfectly in season right now) is divine. Again, not overly pumpkin-y and no where near the cringe I feel when I think of a PSL.

What You’ll Need:

1/2 pound pasta of your choice
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
 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

The How To:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta has cooked, you’ll want to make sure to reserve 2 cups of the pasta water.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 in 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.
  4. Serve immediately with extra parmesan shavings and freshly cracked black pepper.
  5. Enjoy!

Original recipe here.


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