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The Great Pumpkin

Fall’s Favorite Vegetable

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour muffin cups for 12 large muffins. Whisk together 3 cups flour, 2½  teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice. Beat 6 tablespoons butter and ¾ cup brown sugar for 1 minute. Add 2 eggs and beat. Add flour mixture and beat until combined. Whisk together 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1¼ cup pumpkin and add to mixture. Beat until batter is formed. Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.  Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Brush each muffin with melted butter and then toss in sugar and cinnamon mixture until coated.

Pumpkin Dip

Beat together ¾ cup cream cheese, ½ cup brown sugar, and ½ cup canned pumpkin at medium speed until blended. Add 2 teaspoons of maple syrup and ½ teaspoon cinnamon; beat until smooth. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with sliced apples, ginger snaps, pretzels, or graham crackers.

Pumpkin Soup with Homemade Croutons

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan. Add 1 large chopped onion and sauté until tender (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add one 14-oz can chicken broth, bring to boil, and let simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Pour chicken broth and onion liquid into blender. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour back into saucepan. Add another 14-oz can chicken broth, 15 oz canned pumpkin, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir until smooth. Bring to boil, lower heat, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 1 cup milk and ½ cup heavy whipping cream. Heat until almost boiling, but do not boil. Season to taste. Place in bowls and serve with cinnamon croutons. (You can prepare ahead and warm up when adding cream and milk.) Serves 8.

Cinnamon croutons: Blend 4 tablespoons butter (softened), 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread on bread slices. Bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until toast is crisp and topping is bubbly. Cut into small squares and store in a plastic bag.

Rigatoni with Dreamy Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Cook 12 oz rigatoni in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving 2 cups pasta water. Swirl olive oil in bottom of empty pasta pot. Cook about 2 sprigs of rosemary for a few minutes over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel. Add 15 oz canned pumpkin, 1 clove minced garlic, ½ cup half-and-half, ½ cup grated Parmesan, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 cup pasta water. Stir until heated through. Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat, adding more pasta water about ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency. Add a little nutmeg and cinnamon, if desired, to taste. Season generously with salt and crispy rosemary and more Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

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