I am always looking for new ways with pasta as it is a weeknight staple at our house.  Why?  Because it is so damn yummy, lightning quick (generally) and seriously budget friendly and this was no exception.   Ok, this one may take a weeny bit longer because you have to roast the pumpkin and make the pesto but it is so worth it. Long, slippery strands of linguine with salty bacon, peppery rocket and sweet, caramelised pumpkin liberally coated in gorgeous pesto and as a final flavour burst……a whack of sundried tomato.  Heaven on a fork.

Prep time:  30 minutes                 Cooking time:  30 minutes                  $ Low Budget

Serves 4

2 tbs of olive oil

500gm packet of Linguine, cooked according to packet instructions

300gm of Jap pumpkin,  peeled and cut into 1cm cubes

6 short rindless bacon rashers, thinly sliced

1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 handfuls of baby rocket leaves

Freshly grated parmesan and Extra virgin olive oil to serve

For the Pesto:

1 bunch of fresh basil

1/2 cup of grated parmesan

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts (optional)

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

A squeeze of lemon (helps the pesto keep its colour and tastes great!)

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Place the pumpkin pieces in a lined baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until just tender.

While the pumpkin is cooking, bring the water for the pasta to the boil and cook according to packet instructions.  Linguine only needs about 8 minutes to be  al dente`.

Place the basil, parmesan, pine nuts and lemon juice in your food processor and season with a little salt and pepper.  Add half the oil and blitz, adding the rest of the oil through the top while it is blitzing until you have a nice chunky paste.  Place the pesto in an airtight container as you won’t need all of it and it will keep for up to a week in the fridge.  (You can freeze it too)

Heat a large heavy based frypan and add a tablespoon of oil.  Fry the bacon pieces until golden and caramelised and then pop in the sundried tomatoes and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and add it to the frypan.  Drain the pasta and reserve a little of the liquid.  Add the linguine to the pan along with 3 tablespoons of pesto and the baby rocket leaves.  Using two large spoons or a pair of tongs, toss the pasta really well ensuring that the pasta is coated well with the pesto.  Add a little pasta water to help it all combine and drizzle with a little more olive oil.  Divide among four bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan and a little more olive oil if you so desire!