I was doing some work over my morning coffee when I was told I’d be cooking dinner. Yup, that’s how my household rolls! Usually, I like to center the meal around a protein; but as it is, I’m a bit fed up with meat, especially red meat. That’s what happens when you go to a churrascaria buffet, besides that newfound wish to marry a Brazilian man. So when I was tossing up ideas, I thought I’d make something with the pumpkin that has been sitting in our lounge for yonks. Well, don’t be alarmed – pumpkins can last for ages and ages. Don’t believe me? Buy one, keep it for months and then cook it. Seriously!
Chopping up pumpkin takes a bit of elbow grease and from personal experience, you may tell your little sister to leave you alone in the kitchen to deal with an orange monster. I’ve always found it easier to use a small knife to cut the pumpkin into half and then into 3 cm slices. After that, I use a chopper knife to remove the skin and the fibrous bits, and chop them into cubes. Don’t forget to remove the seeds, which you can roast with honey and sea salt in a 200 degrees C oven on a lined baking tray. Yay, two recipes in one!
This recipe uses dried pasta, but you can most definitely use fresh fettucini/linguine/etc. Do not boil the pasta to al dente as it will continue cooking with the rest of the ingredients. To reassure my carnivorous mother that we will not keel over from malnutrition, I asked her to buy some chicken breast fillets. If you feel the need to escape meat, you can definitely forgo it or replace with a vegetarian alternative. According to my aunt, the magic was in the lemon juice and zest that adds a fragrant kick to the dish – quite honestly, I cannot attest to that since I was too busy wolfing it down. What? I was hungry! I tossed through fresh baby spinach leaves, but you can also use rocket or kale or all of the above. I like me some greens!
Roasted pumpkin, chicken and macadamia spaghetti
Makes four serves
- 1/2 pumpkin, sliced then cubed
- 400 g spaghetti
- 700 g chicken breast fillets, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bulb of garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 lemon, juice + zest
- 1 stock cube (I used Continental stock pot)
- 1 handful of macadamias
- salt & pepper
- optional: grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Season chicken slices in salt and pepper.
Toss pumpkin cubes in 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and black pepper, and place these on a baking tray lined with foil. Roast for 20 minutes, turning tray halfway through roasting time.
Toast macadamias in a dry pan or put them on a separate baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes while the pumpkin is roasting.
In a pot or wok, heat remaining olive oil on medium heat and add onions. Fry until soft and then add chicken and honey.
Meanwhile, boil pasta in salted water until almost al dente. Retain 1/4 cup of pasta water and dissolve stock cube in this.
Once chicken is almost cooked, add in the garlic and stir until it is cooked through.
Pour in stock and once boiling, add in drained pasta, and lemon juice and zest.
Toss quickly with roasted pumpkin and baby spinach.
Serve immediately with toasted macadamias and grated cheese.