Meatless Monday: pumpkin goat-cheese manicotti

It’s getting on toward Thanksgiving, guys. When did this happen? Seriously.

The Compatriot and I have been going to see both my parents and his parents for the last few years. This year, we also have a wedding to attend on the 30th. So we’re celebrating a week early with my family. And we’re also celebrating a week early with my friends; we have weekly potlucks, but most people will be out of town next week. Good for readers — you guys get a recipe! I always forget to make something to bring to family Thanksgivings. Not this year, friends. This year I’m an awesome, domesticky daughter.

My recipe is based on one I found on Pinterest. It’s a goat cheese ravioli.

Now, if I were nice to myself, I’d use canned pumpkin. It’d be nice and easy. Except when I said I was bringing pumpkin ravioli to the potluck, a friend generously donated two pumpkins from our CSA. Oh, nice, right? Yes and no. It was cool, but a ton of effort. To the point where my plan changed from home-made ravioli to store-bought manicotti because of the effort involved in making pumpkin puree.

Let me repeat that. If anyone tells you that making pumpkin puree is easy or quick, stick your fingers in your ears and run away. Maybe it is easy and/or quick… for them. More likely, they’re basking in the glow of a job well done, and all the labor kind of fades into a fuzzy haze of domestic pride and bliss.

All righty, then, let’s jump into the madness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 5 cloves of rough-chopped garlic
  • salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 box large manicotti tubes

Sauce:

  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • pepper

Process (simple version for actually following):

  1. Cut your pumpkin’s top off, then cut it in half. Scoop out all the seeds and strings into a bowl. When clean, cut your pumpkin into chunks, place on a baking sheet, and roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  2. The rind should be relatively easy to remove with your hands and a knife. Place chunks into a blender or food processor and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan. Sautee the pumpkin, garlic and spices together until the garlic is tender and the spices are fragrant. Add the cheeses and mix together.
  4. Stuff mixture into manicotti tubes using a small spoon.

How to make pumpkin puree (not really):

First off, put on an audio book and settle in, it’s going to take a while. You’ll cut the top off your pumpkin, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits into a bowl for roasting later.

Cute little pumpkin. Should take but a moment to scrape out.

Cute little pumpkin. Should take but a moment to scrape out.

FINALLY. Of course, I also am using that giant pumpkin in the back there...

Ok, that took longer than I thought. The light is even different in the kitchen now. But it’s done now, so that’s good. Of course, I’m also using that giant pumpkin in the back there, but no big, right?

... Oh.

… Oh.

Once you’ve downed a beer or two, gotten most of the swearing out of the way and declared your still-all-too-stringy pumpkin innards “probably fine,” you’ll cut up the pieces into chunks, put them on a baking sheet, and roast them for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

That’s pretty self-explanatory. Plus I forgot to take pretty pictures. Mostly because I was busy doing other things. Like swearing at the fact that it would take 3 batches to roast every piece.

After roasting, your pumpkin rind should be easy to peel off with your hands and the aid of a knife.

Just kidding. There’s probably a magic moment in there where that’s true, but I missed it, instead going from “OW! Still too hot,” to “damn, now it’s pretty hard to peel.”

That’s when things got a little bit out of hand.

Fastest way to get the roasted rind off a pumpkin? Your teeth. It's also viscerally satisfying, like you're getting revenge on the stupid gourd for having taken 3 hours to clean and roast.

Fastest way to get the roasted rind off a pumpkin? Your teeth. It’s also viscerally satisfying, like you’re getting revenge on the stupid gourd for having taken 3 hours to clean and roast.

Eh, whatever. I’ll be cooking the stuff anyway. Teeth it is.

Okay! So you’ve peeled your pumpkin and you have lovely soft chunks everywhere. (And I do mean everywhere. All over the counter. On the cat. In your hair… somehow…)

Puree that sucker. If you don’t have a fancy food processor, you’ll need to drizzle some water into your blender so it’ll actually blend.

Phew. Now you can get started on the actual work part — cooking your recipe. Sigh.

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