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Penne and Roasted Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Serves 4-6

You can make extra of this flavorful, fragrant autumn pesto to use for a quick meal later.


  • 1 1/2 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1 1/2-inch dice
  • Olive oil, for drizzling, plus about 1/3 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3-4 tablespoons almonds or pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 small red chili (such as Thai chili or pepperoncino) or 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley tops
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • About 1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a fat handful)
  • 1 pound whole wheat or regular penne rigate or farro penne with lines


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast until tender and brown at the edges, about 20-25 minutes, turning once.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  4. Place the toasted nuts and seeds in a food processor with the chili pepper, orange zest, parsley, black pepper, salt, garlic and cheese and pulse to finely chop. Stream in the olive oil, about 1/3 cup, to form a pesto. Taste to adjust the seasonings.
  5. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water; drain the pasta and return to the hot pot. Toss the pasta with the pesto and enough starchy cooking water to coat; add the squash and toss. Adjust the seasonings and serve.