Back to the Kitchen: Recipes for your pumpkin pleasure

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BY GWEN KENNEALLY

A pumpkin is a squash fruit that grows as a gourd from a trailing vine. I heard on the news that there was a shortage this year due to global warming. I certainly don’t believe that from all the amazing varieties I have seen so far this fall. I don’t remember ever seeing so many beautiful colors and shapes and even ones that look like Cinderella’s carriage. While some are prettier, the best to cook with are the smaller sugar pumpkins. For carving you can get free templates and tips click here.

Toasted pumpkin seeds are yummy autumn stable in my household and the basic pumpkin puree can eliminate the can for simple freshness. While my Italian aunties and my grandmother would sit at the kitchen table all day rolling ravioli, a quick tip is using wonton wrappers. I know they are probably turning in their grave, butit saves a lot of time! They made pretty traditional pumpkin ravioli with amaretto cookies and a sage brown butter.

I have also included a recipe that incorporates Gorgonzola cheese! And speaking of cheese — the pumpkin cheesecake bars are absolutely out of this world! And what can I say about cranberry pumpkin bread or a pumpkin soufflé? You just have to try it! So whether you enjoy your pumpkin sweet, savory or a little bit of both enjoy these harvest favorites.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds

2 tsp. melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)

Salt to taste

Options To Taste:

Garlic powder

Cayenne pepper

Seasoning salt

Cajun seasoning blend

Pre-heat oven to 400. 
While it’s O.K. to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Basic Pumpkin Puree

1 4-lb. pumpkin

1-cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Split the pumpkin in half and seed it.

Remove the stringy fibers by scraping the insides with a metal spoon.

Place the two halves cut side down in a roasting pan along with 1 c. water. Bake the pumpkin until meltingly tender, about 90 minutes. Scoop the flesh out of each pumpkin half. Puree in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade. Use as needed.

Pumpkin and Gruyere Soup

One 5-6 pound pumpkin

1/4-cup butter

1 onion, finely chopped

6 cups chicken or vegetable

2 cups heavy cream

Zest of one orange

Juice of one orange

Juice of one lemon

1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped

1-pound Gruyere cheese, shredded

Cut pumpkin in half, Scoop out and strings and seeds.

Cut away the hard peel and coarsely chop the flesh. In a large soup pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add the stock and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until pumpkin is tender. About 45 minutes. Blend or process the soup. Return the puree to pot and stir in the cream, orange, lemon and ginger. Reserve a little cheese for garnish (perhaps with some fresh sage) Sprinkle into the soup. Stir over low heat until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Risotto

3 tablespoons butter

1-tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

1 cup diced pumpkin

3 to 4 cups hot vegetable stock

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Sage for garnish

Heat butter and oil together in a large saucepan. Sautee the onion and garlic. Add the rice and cook, stirring until the rice is coated in the oil mix about 1 minute. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour over 1 cup of the hot stock.

Cook, stirring often until the liquid is almost all absorbed. You don’t want the liquid to be boiling in with the rice, just a gentle simmer. Continue stirring and adding stock one cup at a time until the stock is all absorbed and the rice is tender about 20 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Ravioli

1 ½ cups pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon minced fresh sage

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

30 wonton wrappers

1 tablespoon Semolina Pasta Flour

Mix pumpkin with break crumbs, Parmesan, salt, sage, pepper, and nutmeg. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, scoop a small amount of filling into the center. Wet the edges and seal, crimping shut as best you can as you go. Place each completed ravioli on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with semolina pasta flour. Bring a large stockpot of water to a simmer. Place half of the ravioli into the water and cook until they start to float (do not boil). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.

For the sauce:

1 cup half and half

1 tablespoon wondra flour

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

3 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts

Parmesan for garnish

Whisk together half and half and flour in a saucepan and bring to a boil and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly and remove from heat. Stir in butter until it is melted and stir in Gorgonzola. Place desired amount of ravioli into a bowl. Spoon sauce on top. Sprinkle on hazelnuts and sprinkle with Parmesan. It should serve 6 with 5 raviolis each, but I rarely get more than 4 servings!

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

1-cup vegetable oil

1-cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1-tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups pumpkin puree

3 cups flour

1-teaspoon cinnamon

1teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon baking powder

1/2-teaspoon baking soda

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1-cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 and spray 2 5 x 9 loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine the oil and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after every addition. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda. Stir the dry ingredients into the oil and the egg mixture until just moistened. Fold in the cranberries and pecans. Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake for about one hour, until a knife in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Soufflé

6 eggs, separated

¾ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree

1-teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Spray 4 soufflé dishes with bakers joy. All the way to the top and over the sides in large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Set aside. Beat egg yokes until thick and lemon-colored. Thoroughly fold in pumpkin and spice. Gently fold yolk mixture into beaten whites. Spoon into prepared dishes. Place cups in baking pan. Fill pan with very hot water to within 1/2 inch of top of dishes. Bake in preheated 375 ovens until puffy and delicately browned, about 15 to 20 minutes

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1-cup flour

¼ cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

½ cup pecans, chopped

Blend in a food processor until a ball forms. Press in 8×8 pan sprayed with bakers joy. Bake 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes and cool slightly.

8 oz. cream cheese

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup pumpkin puree

1-teaspoon vanilla

1/4-teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Blend until smooth and pour over crust. Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set. Cool and cut into bars.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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