Pumpkin-Gochujang Pasta With Crispy Garlic Chips

November 10, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Melina Hammer
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

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.