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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another way to use the pumpkin

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ News contributor
While fall’s vegetables are not as showy as spring and summer varieties, the one thing that they do have is heartiness. Fall also offers many interesting crops and pumpkins, in particular, are vibrant with color. Many of us buy pumpkins for decoration on our doorsteps or dinner tables, but I’ve found that not many people actually cook them and just let them rot before throwing them in a compost pile.

I have to admit that I’m one of those people. I’ve actually never cooked pumpkin because it always seemed as though it was too time-consuming. I was wrong. After receiving pumpkins from my CSA a few weeks ago, I decided to instead of wasting them that I’d cook with them.
This recipe is very easy, and it makes a delicious, hearty soup perfect for lunch or a first course for dinner. If you decide to try it as well, I’d be interested to hearing your thoughts.
Pumpkin and Potato Gratin Soup
Serves 4-6
4 cups of milk
One and a half cups of water
4 cups of pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon of minced sage
Freshly cracked pepper
Half cup of parmesan cheese, grated
4-6 slices of French or Italian bread
4-6 slices of provolone
Pour the milk and water into a stockpot and bring to boil. Make sure to keep an eye on the pot because the milk does boil quickly and you don’t want it to burn. Add the pumpkin, potatoes and sage, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
Using a stick blender, puree the soup to thicken it. You can also transfer 2 cups of the soup to a standard blender or food processor to puree it if you don’t have a stick blender. Return to low heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and, if necessary, add additional salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into individual oven-safe ramekins and top with a slice of bread and a slice of provolone. Place under the broiler and serve as soon as the cheese has melted.