I love fall — just the smells hanging in the air fills me with a sense of adventure. Woody smoke, apples, root vegetables, leaves burning…it is all there beckoning us to pay attention. The other day, the Sisters were given a very generous donation of pumpkins from a local nursery. It was a beautiful sight seeing them lining our walk in all different shapes and sizes. Being the thrifty sort and hating to see anything go to waste, I knew we must use these not just to beautify our property, but to eat before they went bad. When I got the call that a lunch was needed to feed our community of 200 people, I knew just the thing – homemade pumpkin soup – Delightful! We set about cutting the pumpkins into large chunks, roasting them in the oven, and then transferring them to our skillet where we turned it all into a yummy creamy pumpkin soup. When we were all done, we still had pumpkins left over! (It felt a bit like the feeding of the 5000!). I remembered that a friend, returning from Italy, had brought me a wonderful recipe of a whole, roasted pumpkin layered with ham, sautéed vegetables and cheese. It’s a perfect recipe to try at this time of year, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner.
CHANGE SERVING SIZEpeople
COOK TIME1 hr30 min
- 5 1/2 lb pumpkin (or whatever would be a good size for your family)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 lb Swiss cheese grated or sliced (or any other cheese; such as gruyere or fontina)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 8 oz deli ham or prosciutto thinly sliced
- 1/2 lb butternut squash peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 oz baby spinach
- 1/2 pepper red or yellow, thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion(s) thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 parsnips peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 6 mushroom(s) sliced
- Onion salt to taste
- kosher salt
- black pepper freshly ground
- Wash the pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Cut the head of the pumpkin, making an incision horizontally about 2 inches down from the stem
- Place the top back on the pumpkin, wrap it in tin foil and place in a preheated oven for about one hour or until the pumpkin is almost fork tender.
- Remove from oven, let it cool slightly and remove the seeds. With the spoon, gently remove some of the flesh from inside the pumpkin and reserve.
- Generously salt and pepper the interior of the pumpkin.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil and add the butternut squash and parsnips. Sprinkle with kosher or onion salt and pepper.
- When they are partially cooked, remove from the skillet
- Add onions and peppers to the same skillet, again sprinkling with salt and pepper.
- Once they have cooked a few minutes, add the mushrooms, followed by the zucchini, a few minutes later. Sautéing slightly.
- While the vegetables are cooking, grate your cheese and set aside and slice your ham into thin strips.
- Once the vegetables are prepared, in the cavity of your pumpkin, start layering in this order: ham, baby spinach, assorted vegetables, the reserved pumpkin, swiss cheese, parmesan cheese and repeat – two or three times, ending with cheese.
- Place the top on the pumpkin, place the pumpkin in a casserole dish or cast iron skillet, and return to the oven for about 45 min. or until heated through and cheese is bubbly. Let rest a few minutes and slice when ready to serve.
For a meal, serve this with homemade bread or rolls and a salad.