2 small sugar pumpkins, about 3 lbs each (for 3 cups roasted pumpkin)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 head of garlic, to make 2 tbsp roasted garlic
1 tsp paprika
2 pinches cinnamon
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
PREPARE THE PUMPKINs: Use a large, sharp knife to cut off the stem, along with a small circle of the pumpkin. Then slice the pumpkin in half vertically from the stem area to the bottom. Scoop out the seeds with a tablespoon or an ice cream scooper. Use a sharp pairing knife to excise any of the remaining fibery strands that hold the seeds.
PREPARE THE GARLIC: Slice about ½ inch off the root end of the head of garlic, exposing some of the garlic clovers. Lay the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil.
Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the olive oil over the pumpkin flesh and the garlic. Salt and pepper to both the pumpkin and garlic to taste. Wrap the garlic clove tightly with the aluminum.
Place the pumpkin halves flesh side down on a baking sheet. Place the garlic alongside the pumpkin.
Roast the pumpkin for about 40 minutes, until the flesh gets soft and you can piece the pumpkin with a fork. Remove the pumpkin and garlic from the oven to cool.
Start boiling water for the penne pasta as you get ready to make the creamy pumpkin puree.
Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, measuring out about 3 cups of pumpkin. Add it to a food processor, along with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse the food processor to create a nice pureed consistency.
Add the cinnamon, paprika, soy sauce, syrup and cream to the pumpkin. Puree to incorporate.
Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, puree to combine. Set the creamy pumpkin sauce aside as the penne cooks.
Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions. The Barilla Penne Pasta should be ready in 11 minutes.
Reserve 1/4 cooking water, then drain the pasta. Toss immediately with the creamy pumpkin, adding a bit of the cooking water to help coat the penne with the sauce. You can use all the pumpkin right away, or hold a little out of the pasta at first so you can decide if you want to use it all or pass additional sauce at the table.
Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Plate the Creamy Pumpkin Penne, and sprinkle each serving with a small handful of pumpkin seeds. Pass additional cheese at the table, and enjoy with a good Chardonnay.