If you are looking for a pasta recipe that combines the flavors of the vegetables with the flavor of the sea, then you have found the right recipe: Paccheri with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Clams! The pumpkin sweetness and the intense flavor of the clams make this dish delicious.
In this recipe you season paccheri pasta with a delicious pumpkin sauce, easy to make and very tasty, and a classic clam sauce (for more details read Spaghetti with Clams)
Paccheri pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Clams is a simple but unusual dish, that will surely amaze your guests with its unmistakable flavor!
Paccheri with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Clams
- Prep Time: 45 Min
- Cook Time: 15 Min
- Yields :4
For this recipe we used a short pasta, Paccheri Rigati. This type of pasta remains al dente and is perfect for seasoning with pumpkin cream. Obviously you can use the pasta shape you prefer, such as rigatoni or penne for example.
- 350 g (12 oz) of Paccheri Rigati
- 500 g ( 1,1 lb) of whole pumpkin or 350 g (12 oz) of pumpkin pulp
- 1 Kg (2,2 lb ) of littlenecks clams
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 medium shallot
- 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil + more for seasoning
- 50 g (2 oz) of fresh parsley
Before starting to make this recipe, you need to clean the clams and the pumpkin. If your clams are already cleaned and shelled and you already have pumpkin pulp, then skip the next two paragraphs.
How to Clean and Cook Clams
Step 1) – First thing first, place the clams in a bowl and fill it with cool tap water. Add a handful of coarse salt and let them soak for about 2 hours. During this time they will spit out the sand from inside their shells. Then remove the clams from the water and scrub them to clean any particles or grit from the outside surface.
Step 2) – Place them in a stainless steel stockpot and cook over medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes, NOT MORE, covered with a lid (NO oil and NO water). Pay attention to not overcook the clams otherwise they become hard and rubbery. This step is only to open the shells so that the liquid they contain comes out. IMPORTANT: discard the clams that have not opened because they are probably not so fresh.
Step 3) – Now you need to strain the liquid. So with a slotted spoon , remove the clams and place them in a separate dish. Then with an extra fine mesh strainer, filter the liquid to remove any residual sand. In fact the liquid, that is pure clam and sea flavor, is used to make the clam sauce and is essential for the recipe so don’t thrown it away!
Step 4) – Now remove the clams from the shell. Place them on a plate with a little liquid to keep them soft. Keep some clams in their shells which will be used to decorate your dishes before serving.
How to Clean Pumpkin for a Creamy Sauce
Now we are going to make a creamy pumpkin sauce to season paccheri pasta. So first thing first first, on a wooden cutting board, cut the pumpkin into slices. Then remove the seeds with a spoon and with a sharp knife remove the pumpkin skin.
How to Make Paccheri with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Clams
Step 1) – Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the pumpkin slices and the sliced shallot. Season everything with fine salt and extra virgin olive oil. Bake at 200° C (390 F) for about 20 minutes.
Step 2) – When the pumpkin and shallot are cooked, put them in a narrow and tall glass bowl, then make a cream with the help of an Immersion Hand Blender. Place the creamy pumpkin sauce in a large frying pan and set aside.
Step 3) – In a saucepan, sauté the garlic with 3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add the shelled clams and a little of filtered clams water. Cook the clam sauce for about 5 minutes then set aside. Now we are going to make a parsley oil. So wash the parsley leaves and dry them with a kitchen towel. Then place the parsley in the narrow and tall glass bowl. Add 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil and blend with the immersion hand blender.
Step 4) – Puree parsley leaves and olive oil until smooth. Filter with an extra fine mesh strainer , collect the parsley oil and set aside. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley left in the colander to the clam sauce and mix.
Step 5) – Cook paccheri pasta in plenty of salted water. Drain them al dente with a slotted spoon and transfer them straight to the frying pan with the pumpkin sauce.
Step 6) – Mix well and heat over low heat. Finally, add the clam sauce and mix all with a wooden spoon. If it seems to be too liquid, cook another 2 minutes, raising the heat a little.
Serve paccheri with creamy pumpkin sauce and clams garnished with some clams with their shells and a drizzle of parsley oil.
The best thing to do is to eat freshly made paccheri pasta with clams and pumpkin sauce. But if you wish you can keep them in the refrigerator for a day at most, sealed in a food airtight container and then reheated in a double boiler or in a microwave.
Clam sauce and pumpkin cream can be prepared ahead of time, even the day before. So all you have to do is boil the pasta and assemble the dish!
You can also freeze cooked clams with their water by placing them in a glass jar , keeping them in the freezer for up to 3 months. This way you will have the clams already clean and ready to use!