It’s the southern hemisphere Halloween, and I totally get it why Halloween features pumpkin lamps. I have brush turkeys that relieve me of most of my pumpkins, but still I’m fast cycling all the pumpkin recipes and taking pumpkins with me to Bentley regularly.
Halloween is the final harvest festival, and marks the start of the season of gathering in – firewood, mulch, water, pumpkins, passata, preserves, warm clothes, books, tribe and wisdom. Traditionally, it is a time for celebrating all that has been garnered in the long term – a time for appreciating not just this year’s harvest but the harvest of the ages. A time for major feasting, and for remembering and honouring the ancestors. It’s interesting that in Australia, of all the historical events we could have chosen, we’ve chosen Anzac Day for honouring the heroism and self sacrifice of our ancestors. It’s almost like the cool, misty, late dawn provokes reflections about loyalty and legacy.
Halloween marks the point where the day length curve flattens out. The days will continue to get shorter through till the winter solstice on June 21, but only by seconds a day from now on. They are now pretty near as short as they are going to get. We’re settled in for the night of the year, the season of long evenings in front of the wood fire with a good book and reflections. And warmly nourishing comfort food.
This recipe makes 2 good serves. You can scale it up easily (though you might want to use a pasta machine if you are making fresh pasta and it’s more than 4 serves).
I have just one pasta recipe, and I’ve posted it before, but I’ll repeat it here so you don’t have to click around. You can just use bought pasta but I’ve become a solid fan of fresh made pasta in the last few years. It really does take just minutes to make, and besides allowing me to use real free range eggs in it (and thus get all the good stuff in real eggs into the dish) it makes all the difference to the gourmetness.
In the food processor, blend:
- one large egg (or if your egg is small, add a bit of water too)
- ½ cup flour – I use the high gluten unbleached baker’s flour I use for my bread, but you can use any plain flour, including wholemeal or spelt flour.
- a swig of olive oil
- good pinch salt
Blend until it comes together into a soft dough. It needs to be not sticky but soft.
Flour the workbench and knead very briefly, kneading in enough more flour to make a smooth, soft, non-sticky dough. It will look like quite a small dough ball, but a little bit goes a long way. Let it rest for a few minutes covered with a wet bowl or cup if you have time, then roll it out and cut into noodles.
For this recipe I cut it into thick tagliatelle noodles, but you can go for any shape you like. You will find that if you flour the benchtop and keep flipping it, you can roll the dough out very fine without it sticking. The finer the better. If you go to the effort of rolling it out, then folding it into a block and rolling it out again, you get a denser, more al dente pasta. But if you are going for quick and easy, rolling it out once is fine.
Sprinkle flour over the top of the rolled out dough, then roll it into a log. Using a sharp knife, cut into noodles. You will find that if you have floured between the layers well enough, the noodles will separate nicely.
If you put a big pot of water on to boil at the same time you start the sauce, the two should be ready at more or less the same time.
The Pumpkin Sauce
Put a big, heavy fry pan on a medium hot burner with a good swig of olive oil.
Add a diced onion and get it sizzling.
Then add 1½ cups of pumpkin chopped into bite sized pieces. Don’t dice too fine or it falls to pieces.
Crush in 3 cloves of garlic.
Cook, stirring occasionally, while you shell and chop ¼ to ½ cup of macadamia kernels. You can substitute pine nuts or cashews, but macas are in season now and if you can get them fresh in shell, they’re so sweet and, well, nutty. Add the macas just as the pumpkin starts to get a bit of colour.
Cook a little, then add in a handful of chopped fresh herbs. Oregano, basil and sage all work well in different ways but oregano would be my favourite. If you use sage, make it a smallish handful. Grate in a good grating of black pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally but not so much that the pumpkin breaks up, until the pumpkin is just tender.
Now is a good time to put the pasta on to cook. It will need just two or three minutes too rise to the top and become tender, then you can drain and serve it into bowls.
While the pasta is cooking, take the pumpkin pan off the heat. Crumble in about 60 grams of smooth white feta, like goat’s feta or Danish feta. Stir through gently so it melts. Don’t put it back on the heat or it might curdle. Add a spoonful of Greek yoghurt and/or a splash milk and stir through. Taste and add salt to taste. Pile it on top of the noodles and serve with grated parmesan to add to taste.