I finally picked the rest of our pumpkins and squash yesterday. Frosts are on their way and I wanted to get them under cover sharpish. I have to admit most are looking more that a tad sorry for themselves and in need of some strong sun to finish ripening, and being a bit of a novice at these things I’m not really sure what to do! I grew lots of pumpkins last year in my first season of growing but they were all fully ripened and orange by now. Should I keep them inside and bring them out on sunny days? Or resurrect and put in the poly tunnel? Or should I just eat them as they are? Any pumpkin professionals out there willing to offer me some advice?
Luckily I’ve already picked lots of fully ripened radiantly orange pumpkins and so it’s pumpkin with everything these days at Chez Foti. And as usual I’m loving adding a seasonal touch of healthiness to our favourite family suppers. It was the turn of the carbonara this week. Much as I love carbonara made traditionally with just eggs, bacon and parmesan it’s not exactly nutrient rich and I’m reluctant to give it to my kids in its basic form. Whilst Mr F and I will happily eat a large leafy salad on the side the kids won’t, so I like to add some veggie goodness to the sauce. Pumpkin works wonderfully with both parmesan and bacon and so it’s a natural for carbonara, and I also like to add a little fresh sage which is the perfect paring for pumpkin and bacon.
If you don’t have any flavoursome pumpkin to hand (and believe me it’s not nice to cook with if it isn’t!) you can happily use butternut instead.
Since my carbonara is flavoured with sage I’m entering the recipe (for the second time this month!) to Lavender and Lovage’s October Herbs on Saturday blog challenge.
Enough for a hearty meal for a family of four:
500g of flavoursome pumpkin or butternut, peeled
a tablespoon of olive oil
salt & pepper
240g of dried pasta of your choice, or equivalent in fresh
200g of streaky bacon or lardons, cut into small strips
a heaped teaspoon of finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves, finely slices
3 eggs, free range
3 heaped tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
Start with roasting your pumpkin or butternut. Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6. Dice into smallish 1 to 1.5cm cubes, toss in the olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place on a roasting tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes until soft and slightly browned, turning once or twice during the cooking time.
Cook your pasta to packet instructions. Try to time so your pasta is cooked and ready at the same time as the pumpkin roasted and bacon browned.
Meanwhile heat a frying pan on a medium heat and fry off the lardons or streaky bacon (in their own fat) with the sage and garlic. Drain off any excess fat. Fry until the bacon is a little browned.
While the bacon’s frying, whisk the eggs lightly and stir in the Parmesan and a generous pinch of black pepper (you shouldn’t need any further salt as there’s plenty in the bacon and parmesan).
As soon as the pumpkin, pasta and bacon are all cooked and still piping hot throw them all together in one pan and thoroughly stir in the egg and Parmesan mix. Don’t put the pan back on the heat or you’ll have pasta with scrambled eggs! What you want is a lovely glossy eggy coating. Taste and add further pepper if it needs it (I do like lots of pepper on my food!).
October 26th, 2012 at 9:36 pm
Perfect entry for herbs on Saturday and lovely photos too! Thanks so much for this pumpkin delight.
October 30th, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Thanks Karen, my world seems to have turned from Tomato Red to Pumpkin Orange!
October 30th, 2012 at 3:35 am
I’m not a pumpkin professional, but I’d bring them in and tuck them into a sunny spot near a window to ripen. Love your photos — makes me want to steal away to the country.
October 30th, 2012 at 1:15 pm
Thanks! We’ve been in the country for nearly two years now, after several years in London. And still loving every minute. My pumpkins are now all stationed in our lounge keeping warm and cozy! Louisa
October 30th, 2012 at 9:19 pm
Lovely feel to this post as always with great pics. Carbonara has become an easy supper if I haven’t been shopping in our house lately, as we have so much bacon/ham/pancetta from our pigs – but this is a much healthier version. My daughter has a similar view of green salads to your childrens’, nibbling the odd leaf is about as far as she’ll go, so this is a great idea. Andrea
November 2nd, 2012 at 2:19 pm
Thanks Andrea, I have a bit of thing for ‘vegging’ up pretty much everything!. I bet your home reared pork is amazing, I think we’re going to get a pig or two next year and give it a go. How long have you been keeping pigs?
November 2nd, 2012 at 9:41 pm
It’s our first year of pigs and although we were a little shocked at how expensive it is (mainly because of cost of food) I’d definitely recommend it. Children all seem to love them, they use up garden waste brilliantly, are very easy and the meat is great – if you do your own pancetta, chorizo etc I think it ends up good value, and you can feel good about it. Would work brilliantly with your potager, you’d be so self-sufficient. Andrea
November 3rd, 2012 at 11:53 am
Oh how exciting, reading your comments urges me to get on with it and get a pig! We’ve 18 acres of largely oak forest so it’s perfect really, just need to fence off an area and sort out a sty. Do you do your own butchering? Homemade salami, sausages & chorizo would be quite something!
November 4th, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Blimey that sounds perfect for pigs, they’d love rooting around in wooded area and you’d get delicious meat! You probably wouldn’t need to spend as much as we did on pignuts if they had such a great area to forage in. Especially if you had a traditional breed that love rooting. We had Berkshires, they were great, didnt have to put suntan cream on in summer (!) as they are black in colour, placid breed to handle and slow-growing, so great flavour to the pork.
November 1st, 2012 at 11:20 am
[…] 20. Pumpkin Carbonara by Chez Foti: “Luckily I’ve already picked lots of fully ripened radiantly orange pumpkins and so it’s pumpkin with everything these days at Chez Foti. And as usual I’m loving adding a seasonal touch of healthiness to our favourite family suppers. It was the turn of the carbonara this week. Much as I love carbonara made traditionally with just eggs, bacon and parmesan it’s not exactly nutrient rich and I’m reluctant to give it to my kids in its basic form. Whilst Mr F and I will happily eat a large leafy salad on the side the kids won’t, so I like to add some veggie goodness to the sauce. Pumpkin works wonderfully with both parmesan and bacon and so it’s a natural for carbonara, and I also like to add a little fresh sage which is the perfect paring for pumpkin and bacon.” […]