Here in pumpkin season, it's easy to lose sight of the plentiful, delicious things you can do with these and other gorgeous gourds. We tend to think of them used as pie ingredients or as artful carving or other decorative objects, but that might mean overlooking all the ways you can enjoy eating pumpkin and squash varieties. To get inspiration, we turned to several books that help you put this seasonal delight front and center at your family's table. Here are two recipes you'll find great for entertaining during the holidays or just for a cozy weeknight supper.
Moroccan pumpkin hummus
From Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less by Robin Robertson (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $16.99) comes this spice-endowed recipe that even dedicated carnivores will eat with gusto. You can serve it with pita chips as a snack or appetizer, or you can use it as a spread on rustic artisan bread piled with turkey, tomato, cheese and avocado for a hearty sandwich.
1 tablespoon olive oil
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2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 cup home-cooked or canned chickpeas (drained)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, turmeric, cayenne and sugar, cooking until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the tahini and chickpeas, then remove from the heat.
3. Stir in the pumpkin, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and sprinkle the pistachios on top. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed.
Macaroni with beans, roasted pumpkin and ham hocks
This fall-fabulous recipe from Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes by Andrea Reusing (Clarkson Potter, $35) is comfort food from a big pot. This is perfect for feeding a crowd, especially if friends are coming over to watch a ballgame with your family. Be sure to use a small, sweet "eating" pumpkin or a winter squash, such as butternut.
4 cups 1/2-inch cubed, peeled pumpkin or butternut squash
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 pound dried large macaroni-type pasta
2 large red onions, cut in half and then lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
8 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded, cooked ham hock meat
3 dried red chiles, such as de arbol, crumbled if more heat is desired
Leaves from 3 to 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary
3/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)
2 cups cooked white beans
2 cups bean-cooking liquid
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Bring a large, heavy pot of salted water to a boil. Place a large heavy baking sheet in the oven for several minutes to preheat. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a generous sprinkling of salt, and then spread it out in one layer on the hot baking sheet. Return to the oven and roast for about 8 minutes, tossing once about halfway through, until the pumpkin is golden brown but not quite tender. Set aside.
2. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is not quite al dente. Scoop out 3 cups of the cooking water into a bowl before draining the noodles in a colander in the sink. Set both aside. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil along with the onion and garlic, tossing to coat them in the oil, and season with salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the onion is starting to wilt and get a bit of color. Push the onion to one side and re-center the pot so that the now-empty space is over the hottest part of the burner.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and then the ham, chiles, rosemary and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute, until the ham gets some color and the rosemary and chiles start to crisp. Add the wine or chicken stock and cook for 30 seconds, scraping the pan, until slightly reduced. Raise the heat and add the beans and the bean liquid. Bring to a boil and add the pasta, stir well and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and add pasta cooking water as needed to keep about 1 1/2 inches or so of liquid in the bottom of the pot. Add the squash and continue to cook until the squash is hot and cooked through, and the pasta is the desired tenderness, about 3 minutes.
4. Add a little extra pasta water if necessary to moisten, and divide evenly among warm bowls. Pass the Parmesan and a little extra oil at the table.