Casarecce with pumpkin and orange pesto

Casarecce with Pumpkin & Orange Pesto
Casarecce with Pumpkin & Orange Pesto
Pumpkin and Orange is a wonderful pesto combination!

I have recently got into trying different kinds of pesto, both traditional versions and my own inventions. Among my own inventions is this brightly coloured tasty pumpkin and orange pesto. This combination of colour and taste has been a favourite of mine for some time.

One of my favourite special occasion dishes is Osso Buco with pumpkins and oranges and I love pumpkin and orange soup! However, this was the first time I had tried these ingredients as the basis for a pasta sauce! I have to say it was a great success and a recipe that will be repeated. I could only find a couple of existing pumpkin pesto recipes. Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are a popular addition to pesto sauces. Whilst researching this recipe I came across a pumpkin seed and dandelion combination which I intend trying one of these days!

The only actual pumpkin pesto recipes I found included lemon juice and honey, but not oranges and the pumpkin was canned not fresh and roasted. I’m sure you’d agree that roasting fresh pumpkin gives a particular sweet taste that canned pumpkin lacks. It’s also healthier to use fresh ingredients. One recipe used pistachios instead of walnuts. It also included basil and parsley but I decided not to include these as I felt they would spoil the colour and change the taste. 

This pesto can be served alone. We decided to add taggiasca olives. These are small fruity olives from Liguria. They are also the same type of olives that the French use for salad Nicoise, although the Nicoise olives go through a different curing process. If you decide to add olives, the best way is to heat a little oil in a medium sized frying pan, fry the olives for a little then add your pre-made pesto. Mix the olives into the sauce well and when the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix well and serve

With or without olives, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this dish. I used casarecce pasta as it’s one of my favourites, particularly for pesto sauces. If you cannot find them, you could also use fusilli, cavatappi, gemelli, elbow macaroni or other short tubular pasta.

Buon Appetito!

Orange and Pumpkin Pesto
Pumpkin and Orange Pesto
Casarecce with Pumpkin and Orange Pesto
Serves 4
The unusual but tasty combination of ingredients in this pesto sauce will have your guests asking for seconds!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. For the Pesto
  2. 400 g pumpkin cut into large cubes
  3. The grated rind of 2 oranges and the juice from one.
  4. half cup of grated parmesan or pecorino
  5. 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  6. half cup of chopped walnuts
  7. salt & pepper to taste.
  8. Chopped parsley for serving
  9. Also 500 grms Casarecce Pasta
  10. 100 grms stoned Taggiasca olives
  1. Place pumpkin cubes on a sheet of baking paper in a baking tin. Sprinkle with olive oil and roast in the oven until starting to get soft and browned. (about 30 minutes at 200°)
  2. In the meantime put salted water on to boil for the pasta.
  3. When the pumpkin is done remove it from the oven and cut into smaller pieces.
  4. Blend all the ingredients (except the pumpkin and cheese) with 2-3 of tablespoons of olive oil in a blender or food processor until quite fine.
  5. Add the cheese and pulse 2-3 times again. If the mixture is too dry add a little more olive oil between pulses.
  6. Add the pumpkin to the blender. Pulse 2-3 times more. You don’t want the pumpkin to be too smooth so it is better to add it last.
  7. Stir in salt and pepper as required. The pesto is now ready
  8. Heat a little olive oil in a medium sized frying pan.
  9. Add the olives and cook them briefly.
  10. Add the pesto sauce to the frying pan and mix it well with the olives.
  11. When the pasta is cooked and strained, add it to the pesto-olive sauce.
  12. Mix well and serve with a few chopped walnuts, parsley and grated parmesan.
  13. Buo Appetito

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