Roasted Pumpkin and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta with Hazelnut and Sage Brown Butter

, from Issue #96. March, 2021
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Roasted Pumpkin and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta with Hazelnut and Sage Brown Butter

Is there a more evocative marriage of flavours than roasted pumpkin, sage, hazelnuts and browned butter? One of my all-time favourite dishes that always gets rave reviews.

Serves: 4-6


20 large pasta shells

1-kilogram butternut or crown pumpkin, peeled, seeded
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper
300 grams firm ricotta
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
finely grated zest 1 large lemon
2 large egg yolks

To cook
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
freshly grated parmesan

To finish
100 grams butter
8 large fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons sherry
vinegar or lemon juice
½ cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
¼ teaspoon sea salt


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake. Cook the pasta shells according to the packet directions and drain well.

Filling: Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and place on a large baking tray. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until very tender. Transfer to a large bowl and crush with a fork, leaving it a little chunky. The pumpkin can be cooked 2 days ahead. Add the ricotta, parmesan, garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest and egg yolks. Season generously with salt and pepper.

To cook: Fill each pasta shell loosely with the pumpkin mixture and place in a large ovenproof baking dish or sauté pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Mix the stock, cream and garlic together, season and pour around the shells. Grate over a generous amount of parmesan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and reduced and the tops are golden.

To assemble: Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan. Add the sage leaves and cook until the butter is a nutty, golden-brown and the sage is crisp. Remove the sage leaves and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice, hazelnuts and salt. Set aside and keep warm. Spoon the hazelnut butter over the top and scatter over the sage leaves.