Orecchiette is a pasta which literally means “little ears.” I love it because each piece acts as a little dish for the sauce. If you can’t find it at the grocery store (I found mine at Super Target), then you could substitute shells, rigatoni, penne, or anything you like that will trap the sauce and produce the most flavor.
I wanted this dish to taste like fall, so I used some lovely fresh sage leaves and chicken stock, but if I could do it again, and if I didn’t live next to all the grocery stores that don’t carry it, I would have added some shallots. Whenever I cook those, the whole house smells like Thanksgiving. They’re perfect.
The goat cheese brings a nice tang to the dish and balances out the flavors, and the toasted pepitas add a bit of crunch and texture.
pumpkin orecchiette with goat cheese and toasted pepitas
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 14 ounce (400g) can of pumpkin puree
1 cup low sodium chicken broth, homemade chicken stock, or vegetable stock
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
more sage leaves for garnish
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in 1 tablespoon of salt, and add in pasta. Cook until al dente, or according to the package’s instructions.
2. In a small pan set over medium heat, pour in pumpkin seeds and toast until they begin to brown and pop. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large pan, saute onions and shallot in the butter over low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in sage, pumpkin puree, and broth. Use a slotted spoon or sieve to lift he pasta from the boiling water and add to the pan. Ladle in enough of the pasta water to bring the dish together in a smooth sauce. Stir in salt and pepper, parmesan cheese, and goat cheese. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and sage leaves.