Penne with pumpkin, crispy pancetta, sage and parmesan

Merrilees Parker combines pumpkin with pancetta and sage to make flavourful pasta dish, ideal autumn comfort food
By Merrilees Parker
Penne with pumpkin, crispy pancetta, sage and parmesan
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 pinches fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g pancetta, cubed
  • 1 small onion, very finely sliced
  • 55 g butter
  • 500 g pumpkin, or butternut squash finely diced
  • 4 tbsp very finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 500 g penne
  • 100 g finely grated parmesan


1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat a heavy-based saucepan, add one tablespoon of the olive oil and then add the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta starts to change colour. Then add the remaining olive oil and the onions. Cook until the onion start to soften and the pancetta begins to crisp.

3. Next add 25g of the butter to the saucepan. Add the pumpkin and sage, then mix really well. Season with a little sea salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring now and then.

4. Meanwhile, add the penne to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions, keeping the pasta al dente.
5. Add the remaining butter and the parsley to the pumpkin and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. The pumpkin should be soft but not completely falling apart.

6. Drain the pasta and add to the pumpkin. Stir in half of the Parmesan, then check the seasoning. Divide between four warmed pasta bowls. Finish each bowl with a sprinkling of Parmesan and eat straight away.

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