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Cooking with Pumpkins
Dec 30th, 2007



Following up on my last post on single ingredient cookbooks, I raided another book in my collection for Thanksgiving dinner - this one on pumpkins. (And yes I realize I'm posting this over a month late, insert the latest "I've been busy" excuse here).

Putting together a Thanksgiving menu for my family is increasingly difficult as the diets and food intolerances pile up (currently we've got low-carb, no beef, lactose intolerant, and a tomato aversion ~ oh and two picky kids who pretty much exist on carbs and lactose), and this baked pumpkin recipe was technically off-limits as it includes mascarpone cheese. But as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it. How can you resist a recipe that is baked in a whole pumpkin and includes pancetta and cheese? I don't know about you but I simply can't (resist that is). My lactose-intolerant brother will just have to drool and eat the mashed potatoes that the carb-a-phobes can't eat.

You'll need four 1-lb sugar pumpkins or two 2-lb'ers for this recipe. A one pound pumpkin is very small and can be served as an individual portion. It can be hard to find them that small except around Halloween though, so larger pumpkins can be shared between diners. If you can find the little ones though, how cute is that to serve individual tiny baked pumpkins oozing with cheese and herbs? (Cute is the answer by the way, super cute).


Baked Pumpkin with Mascarpone & Sage

4 small pumpkins, each about 1 lb
6 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped pancetta or smoked bacon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped sage
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper


Cut a thin slice off the top of each pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and fibers. Place the pumpkins in a roasting pan, putting the tops, flesh side up, next to the whole shells. Brush the inside of the pumpkins and the lids with 4 tbsp of the oil and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for 20 minutes until softened and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until crisp and golden. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and sage and cook for 2 minutes.

Pile the mixture into the pumpkin shells. Spoon on the mascarpone and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes. Serve hot.

-Hamlyn, The Pumpkin Cookbook
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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com