Pumpkin Pinci

Pinci is the same as pici, which is a big fat spaghetti similar to bucatini but not hollow. I think that tagliatelle or pappardelle would also be good with this sauce.


  • 1 3/4 pounds pumpkin or orange squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size chunks
  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • A fat pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound pici pasta
  • Chopped toasted walnuts, for garnish
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino cheeses, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Arrange about half of the pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO, and season with salt, pepper, and a few gratings of nutmeg. Roast until tender and golden brown at the edges, about 25 minutes.

Combine the stock, saffron, sage, bay leaf, garlic, and the remaining pumpkin in a saucepan. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and puree the mixture.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Return the pumpkin puree to the pan, stir in the cream, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook to reduce and thicken a bit.

Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta al dente. Before draining, ladle out about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and add to the sauce. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the pumpkin sauce, tossing with tongs 1 or 2 minutes for the flavors to absorb. Fold in the pieces of roasted pumpkin.

Serve the pasta garnished with chopped walnuts and pass the cheese at the table.

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