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MEATLESS MONDAY: Sweet and Sour Pumpkin

November 8, 2010

I have a confession. I’ve actually never cooked a pumpkin before. Seriously! I mean, I’ve made pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin gooey butter cake (there will definitely be a recipe for this!), and the like. But I’ve always used canned pumpkin.

This year, as I chose to partake in numerous epicurean adventures, I committed to cooking a pumpkin – and I’m glad I finally did. Although a lot of recipes call for adding more sweetness to pumpkin, I prefer to bring out more savory flavors. In Italy, anything “agrodolce” means “sweet-and-sour” and that’s the approach I took when making this dish. The pumpkin has great texture, as it’s soft but not mushy. The sweet honey, spicy red pepper flakes, and sour vinegar coat the pumpkin in a way that hits all your tastebuds, and the mint is that refreshing herb that really makes the whole dish pop.

This dish is great as a side to some roasted meats and is another good vegetarian entree!

Sweet-and-Sour Pumpkin (makes 4 servings)

(Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound sugar/pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

In a 10-12 inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the pumpkin and garlic and cook until the pumpkin is light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, vinegar, and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze and the pumpkin is tender, 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the mint, and serve.

It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s seasonal, it’s great – try it out and let me know what you think!

Cheers,

Vivek

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