Pumpkin-Gochujang Pasta With Crispy Garlic Chips

November 10, 2020
6 Ratings
Photo by Melina Hammer
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I grew a lot of winter squash this season at my cottage in the Hudson Valley. Watching them ripen over the weeks I had time to consider what new ways I’d like to cook them. As chilly days arrive, inevitably thoughts go to comfort food, and so I dreamed up this vegetarian pasta dish. It delivers beautifully.

Earthy, sweet pumpkin is roasted till tender, deepening its flavor. A tablespoon of spicy fermented gochujang adds punch, building upon the layers. To make it into a sauce, the pumpkin mixture is thinned with buttermilk and pasta cooking water—use as much pasta water as needed to achieve a pleasing, silky texture, coating the noodles. To finish, top this warming bowl with a generous dollop of ricotta and crispy, wafer-thin garlic chips. They’re a can't-miss, crunchy foil to the dish. —Melina Hammer

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed to season garlic chips, pasta water, and sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces to 10 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup pasta water, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1/2 cup full-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta, for serving
  • 1 pinch flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper, for serving
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place diced pumpkin on a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on top, tossing to coat. Space pieces out on the pan and along the perimeter for best airflow. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until softened and browned in parts, turning any that need softening further after 15 minutes. Test pumpkin by pressing each piece with the back of a fork: any that readily give are done. Transfer cooked pieces to a plate to cool slightly.
  3. While pumpkin roasts, very thinly shave garlic using a mandoline. In a small skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering, then add the garlic. Pan-fry slivers until golden-brown, about 2 to 3 minutes total, turning for even browning. Transfer garlic chips to a paper-lined plate and season lightly with kosher salt.
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions to an al dente texture. Drain noodles and transfer them to a medium-size bowl, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
  5. In a food processor, combine the roasted pumpkin, gochujang, buttermilk, a pinch of salt, and pasta water, and pulse until the mixture is uniform and silky. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  6. Pour the blended sauce onto the pasta and toss to coat fully. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little more pasta water and toss again to combine until uniform.
  7. Spoon ricotta into a bowl and beat with a spoon or rubber spatula until extra creamy, 15 to 30 seconds.
  8. Divide pasta into shallow bowls. Dollop ricotta onto each serving and scatter garlic chips to top. Finish with flake salt and cracked pepper, and eat at once.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sarah L
    Sarah L
  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • JV
  • pepina
Melina is the author of 'A Year at Catbird Cottage' with Ten Speed Press. She grows an heirloom and pollinator garden and forages wild foods at her namesake Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. Melina loves serving curated menus for guests from near and far seeking community amidst the hummingbirds, grosbeaks, finches, and the robust flavors of the seasons.

12 Reviews

Sarah L. December 3, 2020
I was inspired by this recipe to use up Thanksgiving pantry items. My sauce consisted of leftover garlic oil, pumpkin puree, heavy whipping cream, gochujang, and pasta water. I used brown rice/quinoa spaghetti since we're gluten-free. No ricotta on hand, so topped it with the garlic chips and grated Parmesan cheese. Turned out pretty well for a quick weeknight meal.
Melina H. January 21, 2021
Pro moves there. Sounds great!
JV November 30, 2020
This looks great, perfect use for my homemade ricotta. Do you think buttermilk is best substituted with thinned out yogurt, or some milk with lemon juice?
Melina H. January 21, 2021
I am sorry, this got lost in the shuffle! I would recommend buttermilk, as it has a thicker, more lush body to it. You could likely swap for Greek or regular yogurt if that's easier. Hope you made it enjoyed it!
pepina November 19, 2020
Sounds fantastic! Do you think this would work with sweet potatoes as well? Or would it be too sweet afterwards? I have too many at home & am looking for ways to use them up. :)
Melina H. November 19, 2020
I do think it would be a bit too sweet. Although you could try it and let me know! Roast whole with skin, then scoop out buttery flesh from skin once cooled and proceed. An alternative is roasting them whole as above, then lashing them with a juicy hot sauce like harissa, sambal olek, or even gochujang thinned with a little water. Could eat a tray full like that! You could even top the sweet potato with garlic chips - pro move.
pepina November 19, 2020
I'll have to try both: The pasta (with squash) & the sweet potatoes witch gochujang. I always combine sweet potatoes with something spicy but somehow I never thought of combining them with gochujang even though I have a rather big tub of it hanging out in my fridge... will definitely add some kimchi too. so thanks a lot for inspiring two upcoming dinners!
Melina H. November 19, 2020
That sounds like a win-win. *Off to roast my sweet potatoes now...* :)
Happygoin November 18, 2020
Oh. My. Word. This sounds fabulous. There’s a trip to the farm stand in the plan for Friday. This is dinner Friday night for sure. I’ll report back.
Melina H. November 18, 2020
Most definitely! Any orange squash will do, depending on what you fancy (kabocha, butternut, honeynut, etc). Can’t wait to hear your report-back ;)
Happygoin January 20, 2021
Melina, I make pumpkin bread often in the winter months. I always have leftover pumpkin and usually made a simple pumpkin pasta sauce.

I made it last week with your recipe and honestly, it was just terrific. Really took it to a whole new level. I’ll never make “plain” pumpkin sauce again. Thank you for the recipe.
Melina H. January 21, 2021
You made my day with this news. So glad its an easy winner and now part of your own repertoire!