“There are three things that I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.” —It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It’s a foggy morning and it looks like the rain is coming. The home is dark enough to turn lights on and cozy corners look all the more inviting with the warm glow of candles. It’s the season to hunker down, for indoor projects. I’ll spend some time in the pantry sorting through what needs to be replenished.
Eating seasonally is a way of honouring the earth and eating the freshest local produce that hasn’t been shipped from across the world. October is pumpkin season so today I thought I’d share a few recipes with pumpkin; I mean is there anything more Autumnal?
For my Pumpkin Lasagna click HERE
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup applesauce OR canola oil
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips reserve a couple tablespoons for the top of the bread if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8×4 in loaf pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce OR oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened and combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips, reserving a small amount of mini chocolate chips for topping if desired.
- Pour half of the batter into each of the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Pumpkin Mac n Cheese
- 10 ounces dry Macaroni pasta(or shells, or cavatappi)
- 12 ounces bacon
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- For the pumpkin cheese sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour or all purpose gluten free flour)
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or cashew milk or regular milk)
- ½ cup finely grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- For the topping:
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, gluten free if desired
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees . Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or grease with olive oil or butter.
- Boil the noodles until al dente. Once done cooking, drain and place in a large bowl.
- Cook your bacon: Add bacon to a large skillet or pan and place over medium heat, cook bacon on both sides until crispy and golden brown. Once bacon is done, blot with a paper towel then chop into bite sized pieces and transfer to the large bowl with the noodles
- Drain the grease from the bacon pan, then place the same pan over low heat and cook your spinach: add spinach to pan and cook until wilted. The spinach will absorb any of the small amount of grease remaining on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to the large bowl with the noodles and bacon.
- In the same pan, add in 2 tablespoons of butter and place over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and stir every so often, until the sauce thickens up.
- Once the sauce has thickened up a bit, turn off the heat and stir in garlic powder, parmesan and cheddar cheese and salt if needed. Finally stir in the pumpkin puree.
- Add the pumpkin cheese sauce to the bowl with the pasta, bacon and spinach. Stir well to combine, then pour pasta into your prepared baking pan and spread out. Top with remaining ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese if you like extra cheesiness!
- In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of casserole and bake for 25 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Comfort food goodness!
Pumpkin Parmesan Risotto
- ½ lb bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 qt stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme sprigs, tied in kitchen twine
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Add the bacon to a Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) in an even layer over medium heat. After about 3 minutes (once the bacon starts to release some fat and sizzle) turn the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until crisp, about 12 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Add the diced onion to the hot bacon fat. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just barely simmering. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Keep the liquid warm over low heat.
- Add the sprigs of thyme, a pinch of salt, and a few cracks of freshly cracked black pepper to the onions. Stir in the arborio rice. Allow to toast for a minute or so.
- Add the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Start to ladle the heated stock into the pot, one ladle ( ½ cup ) at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue until you’ve added all of the liquid. This process should take about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the sprigs of thyme. Stir in the butter, honey, and a ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Once the butter and cheese have melted, serve the risotto immediately. Garnish with the crispy bacon, remaining ¼ cup of parmesan.
Looking for a Pumpkin Pie recipe for the Holidays? HERE’s my recipe.
Make your dishes extra special by making your pumpkin puree from scratch. Just chop your pumpkin (after removing the seeds and flesh) into large pieces, salt the flesh and place on a parchment paper lined pan facing down (so with the skin facing outward). Bake in the oven at 400 F for 45 – 60 minutes. Once soft, let cool and scoop the pumpkin into a food processor. Blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth.
Are there any special seasonal ingredients you make every Autumn? I’d love to hear from you.
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