by Francesca Patterson

All around us now there are brilliant orange and red leaves on the trees and crunching underneath our feet. October and all its colors have settled in quite nicely around here and I am back this week with a new recipe for seasonal and tasty pumpkins. I did not intentionally save my personal favorite pumpkin for last, but it seemed to have worked out that way. It’s truly so difficult for me to make that claim though because the varying types are so different and they really all have their respective strengths. This particular pumpkin is probably the most curiosity-provoking that we have at the moment. It is a Japanese heirloom pumpkin that takes on a striking mix of deep brownish-purple, dark orange, pale yellow, and sometimes light pink. It’s a relatively small squash, extremely bumpy, with many deep ribs. For decorating, this offers amazing contrast with the traditional orange pumpkins or the white pumpkins on a doorstep. However, the taste is so nice that it makes me wish I had tried cooking with this sooner.
 
The decision to keep this recipe very simple came from a combination out of lack of energy, as well as wanting to let the pumpkin’s own flavors shine through. As it was cooking, I was worried I should have done more to it. Turns out that this was the right decision. This pumpkin had a shockingly nutty, bright, even almost umami-like taste to it. The best part was realizing that the skin is not only edible, but they taste really good too. Even my dinner guests, who were not convinced the bumpy exterior could give way something delectable, were eating the skin and all. I love finding a squash where you can eat the whole thing. 
 
This is a pumpkin I will be cooking with again very soon. I want to show everyone else how good this one is, and I am thinking I will make this dish for Thanksgiving in a few weeks. Using just a few accompanying spices and herbs, the flavors are ideal for any dinner plate especially if you are looking for something with that fall kind of flavor. 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1 Black Futsu pumpkin (seeds removed, cut into 1-inch wedges) 
    • 1 tbsp Olive oil 
    • Sea salt & ground black pepper  (to taste) 
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 tsp paprika 
    • 1 tsp freshly chopped or dried rosemary 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Then, slice the pumpkin into about 1-inch wedges. Keeping the skin on while cooking will help the pieces retain their shape. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the olive oil, spices, and pumpkin wedges until all is thoroughly coated. 
  3. Arrange the pumpkin wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin meat is tender enough to pierce easily with a fork. 
    I recommend eating the skin since it is very thin and delicious. Otherwise, you can peel it off as it will remove easily now that it’s been cooked. 
     
    This serves about 3-4 people and will keep in the fridge for up to two days.