Skirt Steak and Grilled Vegetables with Pumpkin Romesco

The hearty flavors of a classic Romesco sauce pair perfectly with grilled meats, fish and vegetables. Our Pumpkin Romesco is a simple variation on the theme with pumpkin seeds taking the place of the traditional almonds while roasted pumpkin adds even more flavor and thickens the sauce in place of the customary bread.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 6
Image of Skirt Steak and Grilled Vegetables with Pumpkin Romesco

  • 1 sugar pie pumpkin, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, scrubbed clean
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cored
  • 4 garlic cloves left in their papery skins
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 zucchini squash, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fettuccini or other pasta

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at 500°F.

Wash the pumpkin. Cut away and discard the stem. Quarter the remainder and scrape away all the seeds and pulp.

Place the pieces in the indirect cooking zone with the shell-sides down and roast with the hood closed until tender, about 40 minutes.

Preheat 2 small skillets in the indirect zone along with the pumpkin. While the pumpkin is roasting, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the surface begins to ripple, add the pasilla chiles. Use a turner to press the chiles into the pan until they start smoking. Turn them over and repeat on the other side.

Transfer the chiles to a bowl of water. Put a small plate on top to keep them submerged. Soak for 10 minutes.

Use the same oil, pan and heat setting to toast the pumpkin seeds. Keep them moving constantly until golden brown, about five minutes. Remove from the skillet and reserve.

After 30 minutes roasting time, add the tomatoes to one skillet and the garlic to the other. Roast with the hood closed for the final 10 minutes.

When done roasting, remove the pumpkin pieces and the skillets from the grill.

Adjust the fire and prepare for direct grilling at 550°F.

Start 4 quarts of water boiling for the pasta.

Peel away and discard the outer shell from the pumpkin pieces. Cut the flesh into smaller pieces and transfer to a blender (or food processor). Remove and discard the skins from the tomatoes and garlic. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the blender. Add the chiles, reserving the water. Add the pumpkin seeds and 1/2 cup olive oil, plus the vinegar, paprika and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Process until smooth. Reserve.

The sauce should stay warm until the rest of the entree is finished. Cut the onion into 8 wedges with all the layers still held together by the base of the onion. Brush the onion and zucchini with olive oil. Brush the steak as well, but do not go back to the vegetables with the same brush. Season all liberally with kosher salt.

Ask a helper to cook the pasta while you start the steak on the grill. Place the skirt steak and onion in the direct grilling zone. Grill the steak, turning once, until medium-rare (about 7 minutes total cooking time depending on the thickness of the cut).

Remove the steak from the grill and wrap in aluminum foil to rest. Add the zucchini to the grill with the cut-side down.

Grill alongside the onions for about 4 minutes until marked but still firm.

Remove all.

Working quickly while everything is still warm, cut the bases off each onion wedge to separate the layers. Slice the zucchini 1/4-inch thick. Cut the skirt steak down to 4-inch sections and then thinly slice across the grain. Plate the pasta. Top with Pumpkin Romesco Sauce. Top that with the skirt steak and vegetables.