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Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce

By Barbara Beltrami

‘Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,

Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;

He put her in a pumpkin shell

And there he kept her very well.’

— Mother Goose

Poor Peter — a sad story of a husband who was still living in the 19th or even 20th century. He just didn’t get it. Perhaps, if he had respected her freedom, he wouldn’t have had a problem with her. She would have been glad to cook him all kinds of wonderful treats, like pumpkin walnut bread to savor with his morning coffee; or she could have simmered him a nice pot of creamy pumpkin soup to slurp contentedly with a glass of wine after a hard day’s work. Or maybe if they had had a better understanding of each other, they could have planned a date night and cooked some delectable dishes together like ravioli with pumpkin sauce.

The following recipes may not exactly liberate your kitchen or your relationship, but they will liberate you from the notion that pumpkins are good for nothing more than jack-o’-lanterns and pies.

Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce

Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


One 12-ounce package of fresh cheese-filled ravioli

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 cup pureed fresh pumpkin (or canned if you can’t be bothered!)

1 cup chicken broth

¾ cup cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano)

DIRECTIONS: Cook ravioli according to package directions. Set aside to keep warm. Place medium saucepan over medium heat; add oil, then onion, garlic and rosemary and cook over medium heat just until garlic and rosemary begin to release their aromas and onion is translucent. Remove rosemary and discard. Stir in pumpkin puree, chicken broth, cream and salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until mixture is thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep on lowest possible heat while you transfer ravioli to serving bowl. Top ravioli with pumpkin sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve hot or warm with a green or mixed salad and rustic bread with extra virgin olive oil.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

YIELD: Makes one loaf


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup cooked pumpkin, pureed and drained of all excess liquid

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and mix thoroughly. In another medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sugars, milk, eggs and butter and stir in to dry mixture. Fold in walnuts. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan and finish cooling on rack. Serve with butter, cream cheese or apple butter and mugs of hot coffee, tea or chocolate or glasses of ice cold milk.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil (or more, if needed)

2 pounds pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 large onion, diced

2 cups chicken broth

Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh sage, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups milk or light cream

4 whole sage leaves

DIRECTIONS: In a large heavy skillet, heat butter and oil; add pumpkin, apple and onion and cook until very soft, about 30 minutes. (Add a little water if it starts to dry out or brown too fast.) Stir in chicken broth, sage, salt and pepper and cook 5 more minutes. Let cool 10 or 15 minutes, then puree mixture in processor or blender. Transfer to large saucepan over low heat and using a wire whisk, beat in milk or cream. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture begins to thicken and is on the verge of boiling. Serve hot garnished with whole sage leaves and accompanied by local broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.

This is a revision of an article written by the author and published in this newspaper in 1988.