Makes 6-8 servings
For the pasta:
1 (2-pound) sugar (pie) pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta shapes, such as orecchiette
8 ounces baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried ( cut up kale or chard can be substituted)
For the sauce:
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated cheese for serving, such as Gruyere or Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Halve, seed and peel the pumpkin. Chop into ½-inch pieces. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until fork tender, tossing once during cooking.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain well.
While the pasta is cooking, first wilt the spinach leaves. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach to the pan with a few drops of water. Cover the pan and let heat just for a minute or two, until wilted, stirring as needed. Remove the spinach to a plate and set aside. Return the skillet to the heat.
To make the sauce, add the butter to the skillet over medium heat. Let melt and then heat the butter, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color (be careful not to burn it). Once the butter is browned, stir in the thyme leaves, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach leaves and squash. Toss the sauce mixture with the drained pasta. Serve warm with grated Gruyere or Parmesan, if desired.