Pumpkin and squash
|October 20, 2009||Posted by ameliaps under appetizers, autumn, breads, dessert, meats, pasta and grains, pumpkin, sauces, side dishes, soups, squash, vegetarian|
“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” ~ Jim Davis
This week-end our family went to pick pumpkins. We also did the customary hay-ride through the woods and pumpkin patches. The weather was wonderfully crisp, the sun was shining and the leaves were changing. It was as if the whole world was orange! …and it was.
Pumpkin and squash are deliciously sweet. Roasting them brings out the natural sweetness with extra depth. Adding browned butter increases the nuttiness flavor. So those are typically my choices for these gourds.
You will notice that I love to pick one seasonal ingredient and try to think of (and make) as many dishes as I can from that. I like testing the versatily of an ingredient. No wonder one of my favorite TV shows is the Iron chef!
One Italian dish that is a spicy change to the sweetness is pan sauteed pumpkin with garlic, olive oil and parsley. Makes for a great side dish.
Since I am Italian, you know I will gravitate towards Italian classics….like osso-buco (I make a delicious variation of slowly braised veal shank with butternut squash) or gnocchi (I combine butternut squash and sweet-potatoes to make “orange-colored” gnocchi seasoned with a brown butter bechamel with fried sage and nutmeg),
One thing you can’t go wrong with is serving pumpkin dishes in the emptied pumpkin. I do that with a with my pumpkin soup (individual small pumpkins are nice but a nuisance to get ready) or pumpkin dip served with Halloween shaped tortillas and
And of course, if you have left-over pumpkin puree, the best thing to do with it is pumpkin bread.
Pappardelle with veal shanks braised with wine and butternut squash
(a variation on the classic osso-buco)
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsps extravirgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 veal shanks
2 carrots, diced
1/2 butternut squash, diced
1 cup sherry
1/2 cup Marsala
water to cover
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
Season the shanks on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear the veal in the butter and olive oil. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add wines, then carrots and butternut squash. Then add the veal shanks and cover with water (about 2 fingers tall). Add the bay leaf and cinnamon. Let slow cook for a couple of hours. Serve with pappardelle.
Butternut squash and sweet potato gnocchi with brown-butter-sage Béchamel
When we picked up the squash I also got some potatoes: sweet and white.
I slow roasted all three vegetables to enhance the flavor and reduce the water amount.
These gnocchi were fluffy and everyone loved them with the white sauce.
One tip is not to use too much flour or the gnocchi will be heavy and dough-y. Resist the tempation to roll them easier. They NEED to be a bit sticky.
2 1/2 lb of butternut squash, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes (note that 1lb of potatoes is about 2 medium potatoes)
A few leaves of fresh sage, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, TT
1 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
Turn the oven on at 375F. Peel and quarter the squash and the potatoes and lay in a large oven-proof dish. Toss with the oil and sprinkle with the sage. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 30-40 minute. Let cool a bit and then pass the vegetables through a potato ricer or food mill (this is key: you do NOT want to mash them or they will become glue-y) into a big bowl. Taste and season again with salt and pepper. Make a well in the middle and add the egg and yolk, the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg, mixing with a rubber spatula. Start adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, as needed. Do NOT add too much flour and do not overmix. Dough should be soft and just barely workable. Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece on a generously floured board, into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lay the gnocchi pieces on a tray covered with a kitchen towel (this will make it easier to drop them in the water). When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi (you can put the whole kitchen towel in the water and then remove it once the gnocchi detach) and cook for about 2 minutes from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve with brown butter and sage OR make a Béchamel (white sauce) by browning 3 Tbsp butter, frying a few sage leaves (then remove them for serving), add 2 Tbsp flour, and then pour in 2 cups milk; stir constantly to avoid lumps and cook until bubbles form; season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and more Parmesan cheese.
Harvest Pumpkin soup
This was one of the first dishes I made when I came to the US. I made it up one evening and I always get requests for the recipe.
1 Acorn Squash
1 Butternut Squash
3 Medium Potatoes
1 Big Onion
2-3 TBSPs Butter
1/2 Pint Half & Half (or milk or cream…your preference)
1 Red Apple (McKintosh or Rome or other crunchy one)
1/2 Lemon (juice and peel grated)
Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper
Parsley or chives, a dash of cream, toasted almonds (to decorate, optional)
Cut the 2 squashes in big pieces and bake at 375F in a over-proof dish with water on the bottom until soft (at least 30 mins.). Then peel the squash and roughly mash with a fork. Set aside.
Chop onion in slivers. In a heavy large pan heat the butter and cook the onions until translucent.
Peel the potatoes and dice. Add to butter and onions. Add the mashed squash. Add enough water to make a creamy-thick consistency and let boil down until potatoes are cooked (about 15 mins.). Add the grated peeled apple. Blend all ingredients while adding the Half&Half. Pour back in pan. Add seasonings. Let boil a few more minutes. Taste. Pour in pumpkin. Decorate… Enjoy!!!
Roasted Butternut squash with brown butter and sage
An easy side. If you have left-over toss it with pasta and add some grated parmesan cheese.
1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons butter
10-15 whole sage leaves
Optional: 1/3 cup nuts (hazelnuts or walnuts), lightly toasted, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel the squash, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes.
Combine the squash and the chopped onions together, toss with the olive oil and salt, and roast in a single layer in a 400 degree oven for 15-30 minutes, until tender.
Melt the butter in a non stick pan until it turn brown and bubbly. Toss in the chopped sage and “fry” it. Pout it over the cooked squash squares and top with more fresh chopped sage and possibly some chopped nuts. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
Pumpkin dip with Halloween shaped tortillas
I started with a simple recipe from the internet, which had only the first three ingredients, then I customized it to my taste and decorated festively as a Halloween appetizer.
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz.) canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!!!) OR 1 1/2 cup fresh baked pumpkin puree
1 package Taco seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
Juice of ½ lemon
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Salt and white pepper, TT
In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Make sure there are no lumps left.
Add the pumpkin puree and the remaining ingredients. Blend again until smooth. Taste, season again with salt and pepper as needed. Let rest in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow for flavors to blend.
If you wish, serve in a carved pumpkin (I use a small pie pumpkin). Cut the top off in a zig-zag fashion and remove all the seeds from the inside.
Serve with Halloween-shaped oven-baked tortillas*
*Halloween shaped oven-baked tortillas:
1 package Large Corn Tortilla/s (burrito size), whole wheat best
Halloween cookie cutters (I used a leave and a bat)
Canola cooking spray
Lawry’s seasoning salt (its kind of orange, so works great)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with silicone mat (OR parchment paper). With your cookie cutters, cut out shapes from the tortilla. Try to get as many chips from one tortilla as you can. Press around the edges of the cutters and wiggle a little to be sure it cuts all the way through. Lift the cutters from the tortilla. Place cutouts on cookie sheet. You can put them close together. They won’t spread or stick. Spray them with the cooking spray and sprinkle with the seasoning salt. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. They will easily slide off the cookie sheet.
Serve this with some Maple butter (stir 3 tbs. Grade B Maple syrup into one stick of softened butter) and you are in Autumn heaven.
This recipe is my combined take on many different recipes. I have adapted the spices to my taste and I love including pecans instead of the usual walnuts. I also soak my raisins in warm rum for an extra kick.
1/4 cup rum (to soak raisins)
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pecans coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (preferably freshly grated)
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups Pumpkin puree >> I used a 2-lb. pumpkin and it yielded 1 3/4 C puree (or you can use a 15 oz. can equals)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350°.
Warm the rum and soak the raisins 10 minutes. Drain and discard rum.
In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, nuts, raisins, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger until well blended.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, the pumpkin puree, and oil until well blended.
Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just until well blended. Pour equally into two oiled 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.
Bake until bread pulls from pan sides and a wooden skewer inserted in center of thickest part comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Let the bread cool in pans on a rack for about 15 minutes. Cut around outside edges of bread and invert onto racks. Cool thoroughly. Can be kept at room temp. for 3-4 days or frozen.