Easy pasta recipe

Vanessa Clarkson Pasta Recipe

Roasted Pumpkin Pappardelle with Kale + Cashew Pesto is an easy and nutritious pasta for the whole family. Recipe by the very clever traditional foodie and mum Vanessa Clarkson.

Makes 4 adult portions or 8 baby portions

What you need:

4 cups (600g) peeled, seeded and diced butternut pumpkin
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
250g pappardelle pasta
250g curly kale, leaves stripped and roughly chopped

For the pesto:
1/2 cup (125ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (80g) unsalted raw cashews, preferably soaked for 2 hours beforehand, then rinsed and drained
1/4 cup (40g) sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup (25g) finely grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
juice of 1/2 lemon, pips removed

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, paprika and olive oil in a large bowl, and stir through to coat the pumpkin. Empty the pumpkin onto a baking tray, drizzling over any remaining spiced oil from the bowl, and roast for 20 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. At the same time, bring a large pan of water to the boil and stand a colander in the sink ready to collect the kale. While the water is heating, place all of the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor, and set aside.
  4. Blanch the kale in the boiling water for 30 seconds until it has started to wilt. Transfer to the colander at once, and rinse with cold, running water to stop further cooking, take away the bitter edge and preserve the beautiful colour. Add the kale to the food processor, and pulse for about 15 seconds until you have a thick paste.
  5. Empty the drained cooked pasta onto the baking tray with the squash and stir through 3–4 tablespoons of the pesto, or more, if desired, then serve. Any leftover pesto can be kept covered with a thin layer of olive oil in an airtight container. Seal tightly and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

For little ones: Pappardelle is a terrific pasta to choose for little ones because its thick ribbons are easy to handle. Depending on the skill level of your learner, you may want to cut the squash into fingers rather than dice it, for easier gripping.

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours’ soaking, optional
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Dietary info: Gluten-free option (use gluten-free pasta), vegetarian


Recipe by Vanessa Clarkson and photography by Jacinta Moore for Issue 19 of Lunch Lady.

Tags Parenting