Reminiscent of a brain, and with some Rose Harissa oil drizzled for dramatic effect, this is the ultimate Halloween recipe that will get everyone talking. Embrace the spooky spirit with a baked pumpkin oozing with chorizo, Aubergine and Parmesan Pesto pasta bake. This recipe also makes use of the pumpkin flesh that is removed while hollowing out the pumpkin, giving it some great autumnal flavour.
1 round pumpkin or squash, around 1.2-1.5kg
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil
200g Malloredus Pasta
3 cooking chorizo sausages, about 200g, skins removed and broken into small pieces
1 large red onion, peeled and chipped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
3 tbsp Tomato & balsamic Ketchup
1 good pinch each of dried rosemary, thyme and chilli flakes (fresh herbs are fine to use)
½ jar Aubergine & Parmesan Pesto
100g strong cheddar, grated – 75 grated through, 25 left to grate on top near the end
Rose harissa for dramatic effect (optional)
Heat your oven to 180C fan/200C non-fan. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin around the stalk and lift off and reserve. Scoop out all the seeds with a spoon and discard, then scrape out as much flesh as possible without breaking it, to create space inside the pumpkin. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
Place a medium pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the malloredus pasta and cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reserve a cup of liquid then drain and dress lightly with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
Whist the water is coming to the boil, place a medium pan on a medium to high heat and when hot, add the olive oil and chorizo and cook for 2 minutes to colour, then add the onion and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes until soft, turning the heat down if necessary.
Add the pumpkin flesh and turn the heat up a little to drive off the water. Stir frequently, using the spoon to break the flesh down, then cook until it has almost formed a thick paste, around 5-8 minutes. Add the ketchup, herbs and chilli and cook out for a minute, then add the pesto and a good splash of the pasta water to form a sauce. Turn the heat off and add the malloredus and 75g of the cheddar to the pan and stir to coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as necessary, then add a little more pasta water if the coating looks a little dry. It should look loose and glossy, but not swimming in it. Spoon the mix into the pumpkin and place on a baking tray, then top the pasta with the remaining cheddar. Place the pumpkin lid alongside on the tray then roast for 45 minutes. Check to see the pumpkin is cooked and the centre hot by pushing a small sharp knife or skewer into the centre.
Once cooked, use a small, sharp knife to carve a face onto the front of the pumpkin, then drizzle all over with some of the oil from the rose harissa. Bring to the table then use a spoon to dig into the head in front of your guests.