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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Frost is On the Pumpkins

It's cold this morning after the first, light frost. I didn't want to leave my cozy comforter here on the chilly porch to go get the camera and take a picture of the two white pumpkins I bought this weekend so I did a google image search. My god there are a amazing number of stupid white pumpkin photos out there. Fortunately Waldo Jaquith has this fine image at Flickr. Grazie Waldo.

Several years ago I read Marlena de Blasi’s “A Thousand Days In Venice” and couldn't wait to try her recipe for stuffed pumpkin. As with so many recipes these days, especially those that have been translated from metric to imperial, this one needed adjustments. In order to avoid any uncertainty about procuring fresh truffle, one change I make in my version is to use Boschetto.

This year I'm going to enjoy my first white pumpkins for awhile as they sit on the floor in the kitchen and then I'm gonna stuff 'em.

Whole Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Porcini and Truffles
(Zucca al Forno Ripena con Porcini e Tartufi)
Serves 8

1 large pumpkin, approximately 4-5 lbs., stalk end cut to form a cap,
seeds and strings removed from cavity

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1 ounce dried porcini, softened in 1/2 cup of warm water

1 egg, beaten
1 cup mascarpone
4 ounces Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto cheese, grated
(or another cheese and 1 truffle, thinly sliced or 1.5 ounces truffle paste)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon white pepper
sea salt
4 slices firm-textured day old white bread, cut into 1 inch squares

1. Place the pumpkin in a heavy baking dish and bake for 1 hour at 350°.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onion. Add the mushrooms and sauté until both soften.

3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients one at a time. Add the mushrooms and onions and stir until well mixed.

4. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the pumpkin, replace the pumpkin cap and roast for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is very soft.

5. Carry the pumpkin immediately to the table, remove its cap and spoon out portions of the flesh with the stuffing.