Penne with nduja and ricotta baked in pumpkin

Carving pumpkins for Halloween is fun, but it's even more fun (and tasty)  to stuff the pumpkin, throw it into the oven, and let it bake into something delicious. Bring the stuffed pumpkin to the table and dish out from there

Serves 6


  • 1 medium sized pumpkin
  • 400g pasta, fusilli, penne or conchiglie
  • 150g nduja
  • 200g ricotta
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 150g parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle of pumpkin seeds

'Nduja’ is a particularly spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Italy, available from most Deli counters.


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Place pumpkin flat-side-down or remove thin slice from one side so pumpkin will be stable. With sharp knife, cut pumpkin in half horizontally, slightly above stem, to form bowl.
  3. Remove fibre and seeds. With spoon or ice cream scoop, scrape out some of flesh so shell has a thickness of ¾ to 1 inch. Set aside the pumpkin flesh to add later to sauce.
  4. Brush edge of pumpkin lightly with oil, then place cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 60mins or until pumpkin still holds it shape but flesh is cooked and can be pierced easily with a toothpick.
  5. Cook pasta al dente (cooking with continue later in oven) and drain; set aside.
  6. Meanwhile fry onions in olive oil until just turning golden, add the garlic and fry for another minute, Add the chopped pumpkin that you have reserved together with the stock and nduja paste until all pumpkin is softened (you may need to add some more vegetable stock) and sauce is quite smooth.
  7.  Season with nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir in 2/3 of the parmesan cheese.
  9. Carefully turn baked pumpkin over. Place in large shallow baking dish or leave on baking sheet. Fill pumpkin cavity with half the pasta mixture dot layer with crumbled ricotta and top with remaining pasta. (Put any pasta that won’t fit in another small baking dish).
  10. Bake for around 25mins or until filling is just turning golden. Bring out tray and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and pumpkin seeds.
  11. Return to oven for a further 10mins until a nice crust has formed on top.