Serves 4 to 6
1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and seeded
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. penne
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. nutmeg, or to taste
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Parsley for garnish
Cut the pumpkin into chunks and pulse in a food processor until it appears grated. You can also grate it by hand. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the pumpkin, salt and pepper and about 1/2 cup of water. Cook stirring occasionally and adding water about 1/4 cup at a time as the mixture dries out. Take care not to make it soupy, and continue to cook until the pumpkin disintegrates, about 10 to 15 minutes. At this point, boil the pasta. While it cooks, season the pumpkin with the red pepper, nutmeg and sugar if using. When the pasta is cooked al dente, take about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and reserve it. Drain the pasta and toss in the skillet with the pumpkin, adding the reserved pasta water if the mixture seems dry.
Taste and add more of any of the seasonings you like, then toss with the Parmesan, garnish with the parsley and serve.