Recipe Review

Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe Is Mac and Cheese for People Who Are Really Excited About Fall

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After a seemingly endless summer that just would not let go, we’re finally in peak pumpkin season. Okay, my weather app says there’s a good chance the temperature will hit 80 again later this week, so I might not be ready to convert my summer wardrobe to cable-knit everything just yet, but I’m still ready to put pumpkin in everything that can conceivably contain pumpkin, like this pumpkin cacio e pepe.

Cacio e pepe is one of my favorite go-to pasta recipes, because it only contains four simple ingredients (pasta, butter, grated cheese, and black pepper), and I always have the components to make it — even when my cupboard is otherwise bare. Pumpkin is not normally on that list, but this recipe proves that it really should be more often. 

As with any cacio e pepe, start by boiling pasta in water until al dente. Drain it, but make sure to keep some of the pasta water for when you mix the pasta with the sauce. In a large, deep skillet, melt some butter and use it to cook the garlic. (Cacio e pepe does not usually contain garlic, but I will never oppose adding garlic to anything, especially a cheesy pasta like this one.) Add the salt and all of the freshly ground black pepper to the pan with the garlic and let it toast for a moment to bring out the flavors of the pepper, then add puréed pumpkin and stir it all together. 

Add a little bit of nutmeg, to bring out the flavors of the pumpkin, then stir in the pasta and some of the pasta water. The pasta water helps the pasta take up the flavors of the sauce, and it helps get the consistency you want from a pasta sauce. Next, stir in grated Parmesan and pecorino Romano and toss the pasta until the cheese is melted and the pasta is well-coated. 

Serve the pasta garnished with grated cheese and more black pepper, and get ready to enjoy the best part of fall. 

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe from How Sweet Eats

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