Sicily is my land but I think I’m right if I say it has the best cuisine in the world.
The recipe for Macaroni with Pumpkin, Pink Shrimp pesto, Artichokes and Almonds is inspired by the products of Sciacca, the splendid Sicilian city on the southwest coast of the island.
But all the ingredients come from this part of Sicily. In fact, the pink shrimp Sapore di Sciacca meets the spiny artichoke from nearby Menfi ( for an all winter dish.
The Menfi artichoke, which is part of the Slow Food Presidium, is a vegetable originally from Sicily that the Arabs called “al-kharshuf” and in the city of Menfi it is grown in one of its oldest sources. For this reason it has been protected and enhanced by Slow Food and the PAT – Traditional Italian Agri-food Products – for its characteristics.
The pink shrimp of Sciacca, the second most important fishing port in Sicily, is a crustacean that is found in the seabed around the Graham bank.
This backdrop is famous for the events of the early nineteenth century concerning the Ferdinandea Island.
In this dish they are brought together in their ‘raw’ forms and seasoned with Nocellara del Belice oil and lemon juice.
Macaroni recipe with pumpkin, pink shrimp pesto, artichokes and almonds
Maccheroncini 100 gr
Pumpkin 200 gr
Clove of garlic
Pink Shrimp Flavour of Sciacca 50 gr
Almonds 20 gr
Mint 5 leaves
Extra virgin olive oil Lemon 1
Butter 10 gr
Sicilian Pecorino 10 gr
To make the pumpkin cream, take a piece of pumpkin with the peel and wrap it in foil together with a clove of garlic. Then we bake at 160 degrees for 1 hour or until well cooked. At this point, remove the peel and the garlic and blend the pulp by adding a pinch of salt.
To make the pesto we shell the shrimps and peel the artichokes completely leaving only the heart and removing the beard. Then we cut them in half lengthwise and slice them thinly dipping them immediately in a basin with oil and lemon. We mix and finish seasoning them by adding salt and pepper. At this point we add the shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes.
Separately, lightly toast the almonds, cut them into thick slices and set them aside.
At the same time, bring a pot of water with salt to the boil to cook the pasta. Once it is al dente, drain the pasta and put it in the pan, retaining part of the cooking water for any dilutions. Add a spoonful of pumpkin cream and cook until everything is blended. At this stage we add some cooking water if necessary. Once the heat is off, add a knob of butter, the pecorino cheese and stir in EVO oil, turning the dough to create a creamy emulsion. Taste with salt and adjust if necessary.
To serve, put the pasta on a flat plate with the help of a pasta bowl and put the pesto, slightly drained, on top of the pasta. We sprinkle with almonds.