I picked up the first parsnips of the season yesterday, and if you've never eaten them, you're in for a treat. When you tear open the cello bag, the smell is unlike any other - earthy, autumn, fragrant. Our family loved parsnips, and we most often served them cooked and mashed with white potatoes. Roasted with chicken or turkey brings out their sweetness, and I often roast them along with sweet potatoes. But looking around the kitchen, I looked at all the sugar pumpkins lined up on the counter and wondered.....pumpkins AND parsnips?
It turned out beautifully. I shaved ribbons off the peeled pumpkins and parsnips and briefly cooked them in with the almost done pasta, then drained and topped them with fresh rosemary and virgin olive oil.
Peel a small sugar pumpkin and a few parsnips. Continue to shave off ribbons of the pumpkin and parsnips, avoiding the soft, pithy inner core of the parsnips. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Throw in a rosemary sprig. Add however much vermicelli or other pasta you wish to use.
Boil until the pasta is nearly done. Add the parsnip and pumpkin ribbons to the pasta still cooking; cook for five minutes.
Drain and drizzle virgin olive oil over the pasta and vegetables. Pile on plates or a serving bowl gently so as not to break up the ribbons. Top with fresh pepper and a few rosemary leaves.
Thyme sprigs and chopped parsley would also do well with this combination.
Note: If you prefer, you can make a brown butter sauce instead of the olive oil. Simply melt unsalted butter until toasty brown, then drizzle over pasta.