The humble pumpkin has received deified status as we began to celebrate the arrival of fall with unprecedented glee. Spiced lattes, anyone? (actually, not me. they’re too sweet!) I suppose it was never truly humble considering it was once transformed into a carriage in one of our favorite fairy tales. It’s a magical squash, indeed.
Pumpkins receive a lot of attention and excitement through the end of the month, as decoration, mainly, but don’t forget about them in November, and certainly don’t limit them to pies. I prefer them roasted and served in savory dishes, but they are just as delicious in cakes, cookies, and bars.
Technically they are a part of the winter squash family so I thought it would be nice to include a few recipes with butternut squash since you’re likely to find the two sharing shelf space at your market or out in the field. Below are a few recipes I’ve made myself, and a few more that I’ll be trying this fall. I’m hoping to perfect my pumpkin soup recipe so if you have any tips or tricks I’d love to hear them!
First a few notes:
- You don’t want a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Their flesh is tough and stringy. Instead, look for sugar pumpkins or cheese pumpkins, which should be readily available. They have a sweeter, more delicate flesh.
- If buying whole, you can store your pumpkin for up to a month in your pantry, or up to three months in a cellar or basement. Once you cut into it, cover tightly and refrigerate; use within five days.
- Pumpkins are about 90% water so account for loss of mass when roasting. I made this mistake once and ended up with a lot less soup than I wanted.
- I mention this because canned pumpkin is prohibitively expensive here so I rarely use it. Roast your own and puree in a blender or with an immersion blender to achieve a similar texture. You just might have to since there’s expected to be a canned pumpkin shortage this year. Gasp!
- Roasted garlic, pumpkin, and leek soup
- Chipotle pumpkin soup
- Pumpkin risotto
- Roasted garlic and pumpkin hummus
- Rigatoni with pumpkin, sage, and goat cheese
- Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
- Pumpkin cake with brown butter icing
- Pumpkin cheesecake
- Aunt Winnie’s pumpkin bread
- Warm butternut squash and quinoa salad
- Butternut squash and black bean enchiladas
- Butternut squash soup with sage and orzo
- Roasted brussels sprouts and squash with dried cranberries and Dijon vinaigrette
- Butternut squash and sausage stuffed shells
- Butternut squash and kale salad
How do you like to cook pumpkin and other winter squash? It’s easy to forget about cooking with these guys in ways outside of traditional Thanksgiving sides, but it’s always fun to experiment.
(image by Scott Clark Photo via 100 Layer Cake)