for dominica | pasta with scallion-macadamia pesto and pumpkin puree

pasta with scallion macadamia pesto and pumpkin puree

in typical person-who-lives-on-this-planet fashion, it takes me a long time to do things sometimes. procrastination and needing like 3 naps a day and all that. unfortunately, the process of recovery from a devastating hurricane is an even slower one. and so the relevance of this post marches on

10 years ago this december, the family and i visited living-there-for-a-year relatives in sunshiney dominica. after spending our days in search of what could not be found in minnesota’s december, we returned home with the new year and unpacked adjectives in the category of wondrous and life-altering.

on an evening i remember most, we found ourselves dining in a shack-by-the-side-of-the-road-ish restaurant – all ten of us piled into its cozy interior and we dined on one of the best meals of our, or at least my, life, before enjoying the beauty and the calm of an early-evening boat ride down a river, lead by one of the restaurant’s owners. the establishment in question? portsmouth, dominica’s iguana cafe. and i’m not quite certain just what it was about it. as i recall thanks to a better-than-average long-term memory, especially when it comes to small details, as well as the help of some photos i found from the excursion, most of my family ordered fresh-as-can-be seafood which probably helps to explain the high quality of their meals. myself, however, with my lifelong lukewarm feelings about most seafood, ordered pasta with pesto.

iguana cafe dominica

so, like, i don’t know how they did it. but for years to come, thinking about this dish had the ability to turn anything else i was eating at the time into literal dirt in my mouth.

for a long time i was able to remember exactly what it tasted like. these days, not so much, with it having been 10 years and all. so this recipe isn’t so much a recreation as an “inspired by”. the dish i had was some next level pesto. it was served with a dollop of pumpkin puree on top. that’s all we can be sure of.

i wanted so badly to start a bit of a fundraiser along with this post. of course there are various hurricane relief charities in existence, but most of them seem to be focused on areas other than little, lesser-known dominica, or group all the countries and states that were hit together and while it’s important to help those people out too, sometimes you just have to focus specifically on the little guy.


the logistics, however, of starting this fundraiser, were not something i was able to take on right now. and so, i offer a couple links. please, please take the time to visit them and to spread the word. i understand that not everybody, myself included, is in a position where they are able to help financially so take the time to educate yourself and to pass this along to people who are, and you’ll have done your part.


pasta with scallion-macadamia pesto and pumpkin puree
Serves: 3
  • 1 small pumpkin, halved and seeded
  • 1 small garlic glove, smashed
  • 1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked al dente according to package
  1. to make the pumpkin puree,preheat the oven to 375 degrees f. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pumpkin halves on it, cut-side down. roast for 45 to 60 minutes until it is extremely fork tender. let it cool until you're able to handle it and then scoop the flesh out into a food processor. blend until smooth.
  2. to make the pesto, pulse the garlic and scallions in a food processor until finely chopped. while the machine is running, add the oil in a thin stream and process into a coarse paste. add the nuts and pulse until finely chopped. season with salt and pepper.
  3. to assemble to dish, top each serving of pasta with a generous spoonful of the pesto. stir until the pasta is coated. top with a dollop of pumpkin puree and serve!!

pasta with scallion macadamia pesto and pumpkin puree


2 thoughts on “for dominica | pasta with scallion-macadamia pesto and pumpkin puree

  1. Wonderful, wonderful post. I remember that too. I think I had beef carpaccio and something else. I also remember the guy who took us out on the boat making a grasshopper out of leaves.

  2. Thank you for this. Your vivid reminisces and gorgeous artwork, not to mention the tantalizing recipe, brought me back to the lovely days in Dominica surrounded by family and nature’s extravaganza. Do you know if the Iguana Cafe is still standing?

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