Pumpkin dishes

The Great Pumpkin Crisis of 2009 -- when a lousy harvest resulted in panic-buying and hoarding -- has us looking at pumpkin in a new way. (Photo by Bob Fila)

For yogurt sauce, stir ingredients together until smooth.

Serve pumpkin warm with yogurt sauce.

Courtesy of Qayum Karsai, The Helmand




Roasted butternut squash or pumpkin risotto

1 yellow (large) onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter (more if you wish to finish)

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 cups roasted butternut squash or pumpkin (see notes)

1 pound arborio rice

8-10 cups homemade stock (chicken, or vegetable)

salt and pepper

fresh herbs, thyme, parsley

1/2 cup grated romano cheese (more if you wish)

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

To roast squash or pumpkin: Use two 11/2-pound butternut squash or one 3-pound pumpkin: Set on sturdy baking pan, prick the skin with a small, sharp knife, making about 20 tiny holes to let out steam. Roast in hot oven (450 degrees) for about 20 minutes or until skin browns a bit and you can pierce the skin and go through to the flesh just slightly. Remove from oven, and cool a bit. Cut in half, scoop out seeds, remove skins and cut the flesh into cubes.

For risotto, coat the bottom of large wide skillet (with rather high sides) with olive oil. Bring temperature to medium high. Add half of the butter. As the butter bubbles, add the onion cook until soft, not brown, then add the rice. Stir, coating the rice with oil and butter, about 4 minutes. Add wine. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes until rice absorbs the liquid. Have hot stock ready. Add the squash or pumpkin cubes to rice, stir. When the rice has absorbed all the stock, (careful not let the rice stick) add more liquid. Continue to add stock, stir, wait until rice absorbs the liquid, then add more stock. About another 15 minutes. When cooking time as reached about 25 minutes check doneness of rice. Add more liquid if needed and then stir in softened butter and cheese, raisins and spices. Finish with chopped herbs.

Another option: Try other cheeses such as gorgonzola, or chopped apples, or top with toasted squash or pumpkin seeds or nuts.