Halloween is over. You might be wondering what to do with that Halloween pumpkin that you didn’t get around to carving, or the one that the kids Sharpied, or the one that you just had sitting on the porch for decoration. Some folks will tell you that you can’t cook with big field pumpkins, but that is not true. There are many options, but it all starts with roasting!
Bring in the pumpkin – quick – before the squirrels eat it. Now wash the outside. The next step can be a little dangerous, so be careful and make sure your knife is really sharp. Gently cut the pumpkin in half along the vertical axis (from stem to bottom center). Lay it open. Now you have the inside with all the “gunk” and the seeds. Scoop that out, using a spoon or metal spatula to separate from the flesh, into a strainer. Rinse well and remove as much of the orange fibers from the seeds as you can. Let them dry for a few minutes, coat in a very small amount of olive oil and sea salt and roast at 450* (stirring often) until browned. They are delicious and quite high in protein. Once those are done, you can move on to the pumpkin. Place it face down on 1 or 2 baking sheets and place in the oven at 350*. Cooking it face down will prevent the inside from becoming overly crisp, but baking instead of boiling will prevent it from being too watery.
When a fork can easily pierce the skin from the outside, turn off the oven and let the pumpkin sit inside until it cools. Remove from oven, flip over, scoop out flesh, and puree in either food processor or blender (I prefer a processor, but at the moment I only have a blender – it works but you have to do smaller amounts at a time). Voila! You now have pumpkin puree to use for soup, pie, muffins, bread, pasta, ice cream, etc!
Enjoy the smell of fall.