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Luscious Pumpkin and Pancetta Pasta Bake

A luscious pumpkin and pancetta pasta bake made with a creamy béchamel sauce, topped off with a melted cheddar and nutmeg crust.
AuthorGeorge Alexander
PREP TIME20 minutes
COOK TIME50 minutes
TOTAL TIME1 hour 10 minutes
Servings6 (servings)
CourseMain Course
CuisineItalian
KeywordCreamy Pasta Bake Pancetta Pasta Pasta Bake
Calories571 kcal

Ingredients

  • 400 g dry rigatoni pasta

ROASTED PUMPKIN

  • 500 g jarrahdale pumpkin (peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 600 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 100 g mature cheddar (grated)

FRYING THE PANCETTA

  • 125 g pancetta (diced)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

PASTA BAKE TOPPING

  • 75 g mature cheddar (grated)
  • grated nutmeg (a pinch)

Instructions

ROASTING THE PUMPKIN

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6.
  • Onto a parchment lined baking tray, lay the chunks of pumpkin and sprinkle nutmeg, salt, black pepper powder and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Coat the pumpkin pieces evenly and spread them across the baking tray leaving gaps between pieces.
  • Roast the pumpkin pieces for 35-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is completely tender and develops a slight char on its edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.

MAKING THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

  • Heat butter in a sauce pot over a medium flame. Once the butter has melted add plain flour and cook the flour for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Next add the cold milk to the roux (the butter and flour mix) and whisk vigorously until the sauce begins to thicken. The sauce is done when it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and has a smooth and velvety consistency.
  • Then add the nutmeg, sea salt flakes and grated mature cheddar. Stir the sauce for 30 seconds or until the cheddar has dissolved into the sauce. Set the béchamel sauce aside.

FRYING THE PANCETTA

  • In a frying pan add 1 tsp of olive oil and diced pancetta and fry for 5-7 minutes over a medium flame. Once the pancetta has turned crispy drain it over some kitchen towel and set aside.

ASSEMBLING THE PASTA BAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6.
  • Pour enough water into a heavy bottomed pot and set over a medium heat. Once the water begins to simmer add the rigatoni and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the pasta becomes al dente. Drain the pasta.
  • In a large vessel, add the cooked pasta along with the béchamel sauce, chunks of roasted pumpkin and the fried pancetta. Combine everything well, ensuring the pasta is coated evenly.
  • Transfer the contents into an oven proof dish, ensuring the chunks of roasted pumpkin are evenly distributed. Finally sprinkle mature cheddar and nutmeg on top and bake for 15-20 minutes until a golden brown crust has developed.

Nutrition

Calories: 571kcal (29%) Carbohydrates: 68g (23%) Protein: 25g (50%) Fat: 23g (35%) Saturated Fat: 10g (63%) Cholesterol: 19mg (6%) Sodium: 1172mg (51%) Potassium: 285mg (8%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 10g (11%) Vitamin A: 144IU (3%) Vitamin C: 13mg (16%) Calcium: 18mg (2%) Iron: 17mg (94%)