For the fall decoration of my house I bought a variety of pumpkins: large and small, round and elongated, orange and green, sweet and not so much.
I arranged them in my kitchen and dining room. But every day, or every other day, I’m destroying my decorations as I am picking one pumpkin for cooking. So over the last couple weeks, almost everything I cooked was made with pumpkins. And, I have to say, we (my husband and I) are still not tired of these winter squashes. Perhaps, this is because the dishes are so different in taste and presentation. I already cooked a pumpkin soup, a salad, pumpkin pancakes, stuffed pumpkin, and now – Pumpkin Bolognese.
For this wonderful dish I used leftovers from our pasta dinner. I was pleased, that my Pumpkin Bolognese immediately became our favorite winter squash creation.
Pumpkin Bolognese, or Pumpkin with Ragu Bolognese
- 1 small sugar pumpkin or butternut (or 2 acorn squashes)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey, chicken, lamb, or pork)
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
- ¼ cup red or white wine (optional)
- 1 can (14-16 oz) canned tomatoes, chop tomatoes, if need
- 2-3 tsp pasta or Italian seasoning
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
- Black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper or ½ tsp red hot pepper flakes
- Olive oil for cooking
For the sauce Bolognese, or Ragu Bolognese:
In a deep skillet or a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onion becomes translucent and slightly golden.
Add the garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds.
Add the ground meat. Cook until the meat is cooked through, stirring often and breaking up lumps.
Stir in the carrot and spices.
Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, 1-2 tablespoons of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
For the pumpkin:
Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into ½ – ¾” thick slices.
In a frying pan, heat the olive oil, add the pumpkin slices, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and cook on each side: the slices should become slightly golden, a knife should go easily into the pumpkin, and the slices should remain firm. Cooking time depends on the type of pumpkin.
Alternatively, roast the pumpkin slices in the oven: mix the slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven at 425 F for about 25-35 minutes.
Arrange the pumpkin slices on a plate, pour some sauce on top or on a side, sprinkle with fresh herbs or chives (or green onions), and add grated parmesan or parmesan flakes (if you wish to do so).
Pasta sauce could be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Cook with pleasure!