The great pumpkin


So now that we’re past Halloween, without question the most pumpkin-heavy holiday on the calendar, you think you’re done with these bright orange gourd. Think again. The humble pumpkin is not just a smiling home for a candle during trick or treating. This is an incredibly versatile squash.  You can boil, bake, steam, puree, mash or cube and roast the flesh.  They’re savory or sweet and you could even use them as a vase or serving “dish.” Plus pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A, and only about 100 calories per cup.

Buy small “pie” pumpkins to cook with or to use in decorating your Thanksgiving centerpiece.

By Sally Kerr Dineen


Roasted Pumpkin Crostini

Serves 8-10

1 2-lb. “pie” pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and diced into ½ inch cubes

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

8 oz. goat cheese, room temperature

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1 baguette sliced and toasted

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Spread pumpkin on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Set aside.

Soften and “cream” the goat cheese in a medium bowl using a fork.  Add thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1 tablespoon of goat cheese mixture on each baguette, top with a few pieces of pumpkin, drizzle with additional olive oil.


Pumpkin, Thyme and Ricotta Lasagna

Serves 4-6


1 2 ½ - 3lb. “pie” pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and diced into ½ inch cubes

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

16 oz. ricotta cheese

½ cup heavy cream

2 large egg yolks

8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1 ½ cups chicken stock

4 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

Fresh pasta sheets

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Spread pumpkin on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender.  Set aside.

Lower oven to 375°F.

Combine ricotta, cream, yolks, mozzarella, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots and thyme, cook until shallots soften.

Roughly mash pumpkin, with the back of a wooden spoon in a large bowl.  Stir in shallot mixture and stock.  Season with additional salt and pepper.

Oil an ovenproof baking dish (approx 9x12) Assemble the lasagna alternating pasta sheets, ricotta mixture, then pumpkin, ending with ricotta.  Sprinkle Parmesan over the top layer. Place lasagna on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper (to catch any spills), cover with foil, bake 15 minutes until just beginning to bubble.  Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is golden.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.



Pumpkin cheesecake

Serves 10

For Crust:

12 oz. graham cracker crumbs

8 tablespoons butter – melted

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

3 tablespoons sugar

For the cheesecake

3 8-oz. packages of cream cheese

5 large eggs

1½ cups sugar

1 15-oz. can of pumpkin

1 cup evaporated milk

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping

32 oz. sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons sugar

Adjust a rack to the middle and preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring form pan.

Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until fine, add cinnamon, ginger and sugar, pulse.  Press the graham cracker crumbs up the sides and evenly over the bottom of the pan using your fingers making sure there aren’t any gaps.   Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy (medium speed) in a large bowl.  Add 3 eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.   Add ¾ cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.   Scrape sides of bowl as needed.   Set aside.

Whisk pumpkin, ¾ cup of sugar, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, 2 eggs and evaporated milk in a medium bowl until combined.  Add the pumpkin mixture to cream cheese and beat until incorporated and uniform in color.   Pour into crust, bake until the edges are set but middle remains slightly wobbly. About 1 hour.   Cool in pan 5 minutes.   Run a knife around the edge of pan to help prevent cracking.

Whisk sour cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and two tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl.   Spread topping over cheesecake, return to oven and bake 10 minutes.

Let cake cool completely then refrigerate.  The cake will keep for three days.