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Creamy Pumpkin Rigatoni with Thyme Walnuts and crispy Basil

Creamy Pumpkin Rigatoni with Thyme Walnuts and crispy Basil

Creamy pumpkin rigatoni on a plate.

Who’s ready for another scrummy autumn recipe?

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be relishing pumpkin season. There are just so many options at your disposal. Why not make the most of it by cooking up this seasonal special? 

Chop up a Hokkaidol squash and roast with a whole garlic head until beautifully caramelized. Hokkaido's skin is perfectly edible and doesn't need to be removed. Alternatively use a butternut squash, but peel first.

After roasting, blend with mascarpone and sundried tomatoes for a deliciously creamy pasta sauce. Toasted walnuts and crispy basil add wonderful texture and flavor.

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 50 mins

Serves: 6



  • 1 kg pumpkin, preferably Hokkaido
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tablespoon freshly picked thyme
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 500 g rigatoni pasta, or other larger shapes
  • 1-2 cups reserved pasta water
  • 50 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  • 25-30 g basil leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • Blender
  • Large baking sheet
  • Skimming ladle or tongs
  • Paper kitchen towel

Creamy pumpkin rigatoni and a navy colored Smart Garden 9.


Heat oven to 200 C / 180 fan / 400 F / gas mark 6 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat; set aside.

Wash and half the pumpkin, remove seeds, then cut it into 1 inch cubes. Spread onto the lined baking sheet.

Slice the top of the garlic head and place it cut side up between the pumpkin.

Add the quartered onion and toss in olive oil and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the preheated oven and roast for 45 minutes.

In the meantime, mix olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and thyme in a medium bowl, add walnuts and mix well to coat.

Spread walnuts on a separate lined baking sheet and toast in the oven together with the pumpkin for the remaining 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to cooking instructions. When it is al dente, drain, saving 1-2 cups of pasta water.

Take the walnuts out of the oven and toss in more thyme. Season with salt and let them cool completely.

Now take out the pumpkin and place in a blender. Squeeze the individual garlic cloves out of their husk and add to the blender, together with mascarpone, sun dried tomatoes and 1 cup of pasta water. Use more if needed.

Blend until creamy, using a spatula to push down the sides of the blender. In a small skillet, heat the oil to cover the bottom. Add basil leaves, a couple at a time, and fry for up to 5 seconds before carefully lifting out of the oil and placing on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Mix the pasta and sauce in a large saucepan and heat through. Serve with freshly grated parmesan, herby walnut and crispy basil on top.


Woman serving creamy pumpkin rigatoni.

View recipe page & shop ingredients

Keep a lookout for more seasonal recipes by Alicja! In the meantime, why not try these?

Zucchini and Corn Galette with herbs

Rainbow Chard Cauliflower fritters with Marjoram

Recipe and photos by Alicja Sieronski

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