Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

First a bit of local farm food news: It appears that many farms offering CSA's are now holding a season's finale of Farm to Fork Complimentary Dinners for their members! Great idea-eh? I heard about this Eastern Shore meal from a friend who will be doing a write-up on the event for What's Up Magazine.

Pumpkin exploration continues with more fall fare. I have again included the master process of roasted pumpkin so you don't have to search for it. The recipes I include all begin with roasted pumpkin and then go from there.

I made both of the recipes in this week's post for Homestead Gardens' Fall Festival last Saturday. Since I was showing the Visions Professional Series Kamado Grill, I warmed the Macaroni and Cheese right on the grill, using it as an oven.  It was delectable as a crispy brown bottom crust was formed from the grill fire!

How to Roast A Fresh Pumpkin by Pioneer Woman

The best way to understand how to accomplish this is to see an article with lots of photos. Pioneer Woman does just that.

 Grilled Pumpkin Mac ‘N Cheese, via the New York Times

I made some changes to the Times’ recipe, most notably the inclusion of creamy Fontina cheese and a top layer of buttery breadcrumbs . I also used extra sharp cheddar, as I have a adore very sharp cheese especially in recipes such as this one.  The addition of pumpkin or butternut squash lends an element of color and a bit of virtue in the health department.

 Makes 10 generous servings 

  • 1 pound pennegate pasta or elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 small pumpkin or large butternut squash, roasted until slightly soft
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 cups milk
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Freshly made fine bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

 Heat grill to medium high. 

 Cut the roasted pumpkin into wedges. Place on grill and until soft all the way through and grill marks are visible. Set aside until cool. When cooled, remove skin and dice.

 Make cheese sauce: Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour. Stir to make a roux and cook 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. Add 3 cups milk and stir until thickened. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a very slight boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add shredded cheeses and stir until melted. Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.

 Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 To assemble the dish: Place cooked pasta in bowl. Pour in the cheese sauce over and add diced pumpkin. Fold together. Place in a a large ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the buttery breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes until it is hot through and slightly bubbly.

 Serve immediately.

 

Grilled Apple and Pumpkin Slices

Serves 8-10

 These slices make a stellar side dish, a fabulous snack or even hors d'oeuvres. Make sure to make the vinaigrette first so you can immediately marinate the pumpkin and apple. 

  • 1 small cooking pumpkin, roasted until slightly soft, seeds and skin removed
  • 4 firm apples, seeds removed and sliced into thick wedges

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup apple cider 
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion

Make the vinaigrette: Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Alternately, you can make this in a canning jar with an immersion blender. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk; stir in red onion. 

Place the pumpkin and apple slices in a non-aluminum flat container or a heavy freezer bag. Pour enough of the vinaigrette over to cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 Preheat grill to medium high.

 Place the pumpkin and apple slices on the grill and cook until each side is nicely browned. Flip and continue grilling until tender when pierced with a fork.

 Serve.

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