Contributed by Francesca Molica Colella – author of the Global Meatless Monday cookbook – for Meatless Monday Italy
- 300gr Whole wheat spaghetti
- 350gr pumpkin
- 150gr toasted hazelnuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- Fresh mint or basil
- Clean and cut the pumpkin into small pieces, place it in a single layer on a sheet pan, season it with salt and pepper and two whole cloves of garlic and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C (350F) for 20 to 30 minutes or until soft and slightly golden.
- Grind the hazelnuts and divide it into two separate cups. You will need some, just as they are, to sprinkle on your spaghetti just like you would Parmigiano cheese and the rest will become your hazelnut pesto.
- When the pumpkin is cooked and caramelized, toss the garlic and puree it drizzling in some extra virgin olive oil to make it shiny and smooth. It doesn’t have to be too runny so don’t add liquid unless it’s way too dense. Keep warm.
- Cook your spaghetti in salted boiling water and just as they are cooking take a ladle of cooking water and set it aside.
- You will need this starchy water to make your hazelnut pesto. Take your half of the ground hazelnuts and make a paste adding the boiling water from your spaghetti and keep stirring until creamy.
- When spaghetti is al dente strain and return it to the pot, add the pureed pumpkin (leave some out for garnishing) and stir it in until spaghetti are evenly coated, now turn the heat off.
- Add hazelnut pesto, mix evenly and serve hot garnishing with the extra pumpkin puree, ground hazelnuts and a sprig of fresh mint or basil.