No doubt your coworkers or your roommates or your kids have at some point suggested the idea of a pumpkin carving party because, let's face it, you're never too old to go rooting around inside a giant squash and carve it into a work of art. You could just throw out all the delightfully sticky innards you scoop out but you can also not be a total wastrel and instead use them to create some tasty snacks to enjoy post-pumpkin slaughter. We're giving you four suggestions as a jumping off point to get your pumpkin juices flowing.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS: The simplest solution to an abundance of seeds is just to dress them and roast them in the oven. It takes minimal effort, doesn't require you to purchase extra ingredients and can be completed in under an hour after you've excavated your pumpkin. Get rid of as much of the orange viscera as you can but don't worry if you have a few stray sticky strings on your seeds.
Melt a few tablespoons of butter (FINE, FINE OLIVE OIL IF YOU MUST BE HEALTHFUL) and toss them in with your cleaned seeds. Now, let your imagination run wild! Brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg makes for a satisfyingly sweet combo; salt, chili powder, cayenne and cumin for a little south of the border flavor; or even just plain old salt and pepper if you don't have any other spices on hand.
Roast the seeds at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until they look toasted. Let them cool and then snack away.
PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE: This preparation calls for a little more attention and mindfulness so as not to burn the crap out of the scalding hot sugar you'll be working with, but the end result is worth the little bit of effort. We're turning to domestic goddess Martha Stewart for her take on pumpkin seed brittle:
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus more for baking sheet
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed, dried and toasted
Butter a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat then stir in the sugar and the honey. Cook the mixture—without stirring!—until it achieves a medium amber color, approximately 6 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer (seriously?) it should read about 280 degrees. At this time, stir in the pumpkin seeds and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Carefully evacuate the molten hot liquid sugar mixture to the baking sheet and let it cool completely (seriously do not touch that with your bare hands what are you thinking?!).
Break into chunks and go to town.
PUMPKIN RISOTTO: Now we'll turn to the gooey orange guts you've painstakingly scraped from inside your giant squash. For this recipe, you'll need at least one cup of innards, so if you haven't scooped enough out you may need to substitute with a little bit of the solid-pack canned stuff, though judging from every single time I've ever carved a pumpkin, you likely won't have a problem getting the correct amount unless you're carving up some dainty little thing. Adapted from the NY Times.
- 5 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice (you really can't sub in regular short grain rice here)
- 1 cup pumpkin guts, pureed
- 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
- Mascarpone, ricotta or goat cheese, whatever you prefer
- Parmesan cheese (if you take it from the green bottle I will hunt you down and knock if out of your hands)
- olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
Heat the stock over medium heat until it's just below a simmer.
Heat a few glugs of olive oil and the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until fragrant and translucent. Add in the rice, gently toasting it for a few minutes. Add the wine, cooking until it's almost all evaporated. Slowly ladle in the hot stock one cup at a time, waiting until the liquid has almost completely evaporated before adding in the next cup. Continue to slowly add stock until the rice has plumped and softened but still retains a little bite. You may not use all of the stock, FYI.
Stir in the pumpkin puree, the two kinds of cheese, thyme, salt and pepper. Keep on the heat until everything is warmed through.
Garnish with a dollop of cheese or extra grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
PUMPKIN BUTTER: Spread it on toast, slather it on your muffin or, heck, just eat it with a spoon right from the bowl. Not only is this addictive spread seriously tasty, it's also seriously easy to make. We've turned to the folks at AllRecipes for their take on this tasty topping.
- 3 1/2 cups pumpkin guts, pureed
- 3/4 cup apple juice
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Toss all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened, making sure to stir frequently.
Transfer the thickened mixture to another vessel and chill until you're ready to serve.