Oh Gourdy, Gourdy!! (as in pumpkins)

November 14, 2013

Tired of turkey? Here is an IC friendly fall entree that can also be used as a decorative and edible centerpiece! Experience a trip back in time when pumpkins were more than jack-o-lanterns. Be aware, although any round winter squash can be used, those old carving pumpkins are a tad stringy and less flavorful than other varieties. AND the recipe can be easily modified to be meat free.

CHEESY PASTA STUFFED PUMPKINS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 – 4 pound sugar pumpkins (the smaller ones typically used for pie)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (4 ounce) package of diced pancetta (if tolerated or substitute plain ham or preservative free bacon. Eliminate for a meat free, more IC friendly version but add plenty of basil for the missing flavor)
1/2 sweet onion, diced (if tolerated or 4 teaspoons of minced garlic or 2 diced garlic cloves)
3 1/2 cups cooked, drained elbow pasta cooked 2 minutes less than package directions (about 8 minutes)
1 10 ounce box frozen spinach squeezed dry
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (if tolerated) or shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (if tolerated)
1/2 cup heavy cream (or substitute 1/2 cup lowfat evaporated milk to lower fat content)

Cut an opening in top of each pumpkin: remove and reserve tops: scrape out seeds and season inside with salt.
Cook Pancetta, ham or bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until cooked, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels if necessary. Add onion to skillet and cook 5 minutes.
Combine pancetta, onion, pasta, spinach, Parmesan and Gruyere in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Level pumpkin bottoms with a knife without cutting through so they stay up-right. Divide Pasta mixture between pumpkins, packing tightly. Pour 1/2 cup cream over pasta in each pumpkin. set tops in place.
Bake pumpkins in a rimmed baking dish until flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes. Serve as is or scoop onto serving dishes scraping some pumpkin in each serving.

Adapted by Elizabeth Braun, MS, RD from Dash Recipes October 2013

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