The main content
Pasta with Pumpkin, Brown Butter, Crispy Sage and Nuts

Pasta with Pumpkin, Brown Butter, Crispy Sage and Nuts


  • 2 pounds diced orange squash (kabocha, pumpkin or butternut)

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • EVOO non-aerosol spray

  • Salt and pepper or red pepper flakes

  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about ¼ teaspoon

  • 1 teaspoon each lemon and orange zest

  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock

  • ½ lemon and ¼ orange, aka an orange cheek

  • ¾ cup walnuts or hazelnuts

  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • 24 sage leaves

  • 1 pound gemelli or strozzapreti or penne or pumpkin pasta in short cut

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass

  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, optional


Serves: 4 to 6

Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta.

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack at center. Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Arrange the squash and garlic on sheet pan, cover with even layer of EVOO and season with salt, pepper or red pepper, nutmeg and zests. Nestle the lemon and orange cheek in with the squash.

Roast squash 25 minutes or until browned at edges and tender. Let cool slightly. Purée half.

Toast nuts in small pan.

Once nuts are toasted transfer to board and chop or crush in bag once cool. Melt butter in the same pan over medium heat, add sage and lightly brown butter. Remove crispy leaves to small plate lined with paper towel to cool.  

Salt pasta water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions and reserve ¾ cup pasta water.  

Return drained pasta to pasta pot and combine with squash purée, browned butter, a squeeze (1 teaspoon each) of roasted lemon and orange, half of the crispy sage leaves, the parmesan, half of the toasted walnuts and reserved pasta water as needed. Transfer to platter and cover with pumpkin seeds (if using), remaining walnuts, roasted squash and crispy sage leaves. Serve with more parmesan.