Do you ever sit across from someone in a restaurant and find yourself really annoyed that they have a better meal than you?  That happened to me the other night.  I sat across from my sister just wishing I could turn the clock back and order what she had, particularly because she was groaning and gloating about how good it was.  My meal was a tad disappointing.  However, not one to be negative (much) I put my thinking cap on as to how I could recreate the meal she had in an emmalicious way.  The result was not too bad…..slippery strands of pappardelle coated in delectable roasted almond and rocket pesto accompanied by paprika roasted pumpkin, chorizo and fresh herbs.  Not too bad at all!

Prep time:  25  Minutes                      Cooking time:  30  Minutes                       $  Low Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

400gm of pappardelle

300gm of jap pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite size chunks

1 tsp of paprika

1 red onion, halved and cut into wedges

2 chorizo sausages, quartered lengthways and cut into little chunks

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 cup of reserved pasta water

1 cup of flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Shaved parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve

For the Pesto:

3/4 cup of almond kernels

60gm bag of rocket

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 cup of basil leaves

1/2 cup of grated parmesan

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and Cracked pepper

Pre heat the oven to 200°C.  Spread the almond kernels out on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a teaspoon of salt.  Cook the pappardelle for approximately 8-10 minutes or until al dente`.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of the liquid.  Be careful not too overcook as it will continue to cook in the sauce as you are tossing it.

To make the pesto place the almonds, rocket, basil, parmesan, lemon juice and a small portion of the olive oil in the food processor.  Season with salt and pepper and blitz until it starts forming a paste.  Remove the lid, scrape down the sides and blitz again adding the rest of the oil.  Have a little taste and adjust any seasoning if necessary.  Transfer to an airtight container.  (Pesto will last at least a week in the fridge or you can divide it into zip lock bags and freeze for later use).

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the paprika and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Toss well to coat and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender.

Heat a large frypan and add a little oil and the onion.  Fry until just starting to soften and then pop the chorizo in the pan, stirring occasionally but frying until the chorizo is nice and caramelised and full of flavour.  Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and pour in half the pasta water.  Add a couple of large tablespoons of the pesto and stir until dissolved.  Place the pumpkin pieces in the pan along with the parppadelle and half of the parsley leaves and toss gently with a couple of wooden spoons until all of the strands are coated in the pesto.

To serve, divide the pasta between four serving bowls, scatter over the remaining parsley leaves and top with fresh, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.