Pumpkin…It's Not Just for Halloween

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It was a dark and stormy night. Of course at our house, if it’s stormy it’s pretty much always dark since we live in a very wooded area and the power goes out nearly every time a raindrop falls from the sky. But it was all ok, because we had a plate of Monster Cookies and delicious Pumpkin and Prosciutto Mini Pizzas left over from my morning of cooking on Talk of the Town.

When Channel 5 asked me to cook for Halloween I was a little dubious. Everyone I know just makes a pot of chili for Halloween, and leaves it simmering on the stove until the “trick or treaters” are finished with their rounds. I knew my son ‘s friends were coming over to watch the game, but since their interest level in Halloween was about at zero, I hadn’t planned for anything thematic for the menu. I had to really think about something to cook for Talk of the Town that would not only be fun for Halloween, but a recipe that people would want to make long after the costumes were history. So that’s when I decided on my pumpkin pizza.

Either the folk s at Channel 5 really wanted to try pumpkin pizza or they were just being nice, because not only did they not bat an eye when I suggested it, they were actually excited. (Or else they’re very good actors – after all, they are on TV!) I thought pumpkin on pizza seemed like a good fit. Pumpkin is sort of similar to tofu in the world of vegetables, because it tastes like whatever you mix it with.  Once I did a whole week of cooking with pumpkin and put it in all sorts of things, I just didn’t tell my husband. It’s a little harder to disguise pumpkin on a pizza so I had to get creative. That’s when I thought of adding prosciutto - no one can resist prosciutto once you get it a bit crispy in the skillet.  By the time I had mixed the pumpkin with roasted garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes and topped the pizzas with that, plus prosciutto and Gouda, my husband never gave it a second thought. The whole thing disappeared so quickly I had to make more just to get a taste. It’s really that good.

Yesterday morning I made my Pumpkin and Prosciutto Mini Pizzas with Meryll Rose. I was a little nervous because she loves to cook and entertain so I really wanted her to like this recipe.  She did like it and I quit being nervous immediately because she makes me forget the camera is even there.  I took Monster Cookies too just in case, but the pizzas stole the show – literally, because it is a show! Make these Pumpkin and Prosciutto Mini Pizzas – fun to say, easy to make, and yummy to eat. What more could you want?

Pumpkin and Prosciutto Mini Pizzas

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Ingredients

1 head of garlic

1 Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

6 small flat breads halved or pita bread (Flat-Outs seem to be available in the bread section of most of our local groceries)

15 oz can of pumpkin

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine, or 1 tsp dried crumbled sage

1 Tbsp olive oil, more if needed

4 oz prosciutto

1½ cup grated Gouda cheese

¼ cup pepittas (pumpkin seeds) or toasted almonds

Optional garnishes: sage and chives

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Cut the tip off of the head of garlic and place it on a sheet of aluminum foil big enough to wrap around the garlic. Top the garlic with olive oil and salt. Wrap the foil around to completely seal and bake for 45 minutes until garlic is soft. Let cool briefly. (Alternately sauté garlic if you are in a hurry, being careful not to burn it.)

Put pumpkin in a small bowl.

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Squeeze the garlic cloves into the pumpkin along with the oil left in the aluminum foil.

Add the salt, red pepper flakes, and sage and mash to combine garlic and pumpkin. This doesn’t have to be a smooth paste – lumps are fine.

In a large skillet over medium high heat sauté prosciutto in olive oil until crisp, remove and crumble.

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To the same skillet, add the flat breads a few at a time and cook for about a minute on each side to lightly brown.

 

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