I know, I know, I've already written about pumpkin-themed recipes - but I can't help it, I'm obsessed! The air is crisp and clear, leaves are turning red, gold, brown and covering the world in a shimmering, festive blanket - and pumpkins fit right into this glowing, golden world. That being said, there is so much more to pumpkins than jack-o-lanterns and pie! Last week's post investigated the sweet side of this iconic gourd, and this week I want to share a few recipes that highlight the savory applications of the pumpkin: from stem to seed.
Here is some advice from one of our resident experts, Chef Jessica, on making homemade pumpkin puree:
Most recipes call for pumpkin puree. You can obviously use canned pumpkin puree for many recipes and this is a big time saver, but if you are a purist then by all means get your carving knife out and be prepared to get your hands messy! There are several ways to prepare pumpkin puree.
Steam: Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds, pulp and any stringy stuff. Remove the hard outer peel or rind and cut the flesh into small pieces. Place the pumpkin pieces in a steamer basket set over simmering water and steam for about 45-50 minutes or until the pumpkin pieces are tender. Transfer the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and puree.
Boil: Repeat the same process as above except this time place the pumpkin pieces in a saucepan and cover with water and lightly salt. Boil for about 25-30 minutes or tender. Puree in a blender or food processor.
After the pumpkin puree has cooled completely, you can divide it into freezer containers and freeze in smaller portions for future use. A 5lb. pumpkin should yield about 4-1/2 cups of pumpkin puree. Just as a comparison, one 15 oz can of pumpkin puree is about 2 cups of pumpkin puree.
Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
To be perfectly honest, this is one of my favorite parts of pumpkin carving! In the process of preparing your pumpkin for carving, you scrape out all of the seeds -- and then clean them off and toast them! Crunchy, salty, spicy - these are the perfect (healthy!) snack on a cold Halloween night!
1-1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash of ground mace
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Rinse the seeds to remove pumpkin pulp. Dry seeds on paper towels. Place the pumpkin seeds in a bowl and toss with melted butter, cayenne pepper, mace and season with salt.
Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Pumpkin Soup with Gruyere
One 5-6 pound pumpkin
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cups gluten free Chicken Stock*
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 cup light cream
2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 pound gruyere cheese, shredded
Salt and white pepper
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all strings and seeds. With a sturdy knife, cut away hard peel. Coarsely chop pumpkin flesh; you should have 8 cups.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden,
4-5 minutes. Add gluten free stock, chopped pumpkin and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 15-30 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Using a food processor, puree soup in small batches. Alternately, use an immersion blender.
Return puree to pan and stir in cream, orange zest, orange and lemon juices, nutmeg and ginger. Reserve a handful of cheese and sprinkle the rest into soup, stirring over low heat until cheese melts and blends in.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a warmed tureen, individual bowls or pumpkin shells and garnish with reserved cheese and chives.
You can serve this lovely soup in a large pumpkin shell, or small individual ones. You will need additional pumpkins. Cut off the stem end of pumpkin and carefully scrape out flesh leaving a shell 1/2 inch thick. Fill the shell with soup, and garnish.
* - You can either purchase premade stock (Pacific Naturals produces a gluten free (and low-sodium) chicken and vegetable stock) OR you can make your own! Here's our recipe for homemade chicken stock!
1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups aborio rice
6 cups gluten free chicken broth
1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon butter
Dash of nutmeg
In a large, heavy saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and onions; saute until translucent. Add rice and saute, stirring about 5 minutes. Add wine and allow to cook off for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add chicken broth, 1 cup at a time. Cook after each broth addition until liquid is absorbed and then add more broth. When risotto is almost done and after last broth addition, add pumpkin and let cook until risotto is a creamy consistency. Add parmesan cheese and stir to melt and until well blended. Stir in butter and serve.
Spinach Ravioli with Sage and Pumpkin
1 3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed and then chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Place chopped spinach in center of a large square of cheese cloth. Gather edges of cheese cloth and squeeze all water out of spinach.
Place gluten free flour, salt, olive oil and spinach in a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly (gluten free) floured surface and knead dough until smooth. If dough seems sticky, add a little more gluten free flour until it reaches a nice doughy consistancy. Cover dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
While pasta is resting, combine pumpkin purée with ricotta, nutmeg, egg, cinnamon, salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside.
Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.
Run dough, a little at a time, through your pasta machine until it reaches the 3rd press. (For complete instructions on how to make pasta, take a look at our online cooking classon homemade, gluten free pasta!) Cover each sheet with plastic wrap and continue until all pasta has been pressed into long sheets.
Working with one sheet at a time, cut pasta into 1-1/2 inch squares. Top one square with a teaspoon of filling. Dip your finger in water and run along edge of square containing filling. Top with a pasta square and press on edges to seal; squeezing out any air pockets.
Place finished ravioli on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining pasta. A word of caution: if you stack the ravioli, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Boil ravioli until they come to the surface of the water and are al denté when tested. Drain.
In a large skillet, melt butter and sage over medium heat until butter is lightly browned. Add pasta and toss gently to coat. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar on each plate. Top with ravioli and garnish with parmesan and sage leaves. Serve immediately.
You will need a pasta machine to make this recipe!