Savory Pumpkin Pie

After a long hiatus, I’m back to blogging. Feels good to finally be able to write about the recipes I’ve accrued over the past few months of over-time stress. Finally back to the working world, and done with grad school applications, I can sit back with Christmas present cookbooks, and plan meals according to my every whim. This is a throwback to a pre-Thanksgiving party. A savory pumpkin pie I made in lieu of a turkey, that combines the warmth and texture of a pumpkin pie, with the heartiness of ragu. This dish was actually inspired by my travels in Italy, and specialty of the city of Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna, pumpkin stuffed tortellini with ragu. The combination of pumpkin, parmigiano and ragu is prefect, and this pie blends them seamlessly into one taste. The taste of the ragu and the cheese suffuses the pumpkin, which, apart from adding sweetness, conforms to the flavor profile of the former ingredients. The flaky crust makes this even more addictive.

Savory Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 celery stalks, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste’
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin
  • Crust (store bought or homemade)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350. Salt well and brown the beef in a wide pot or dutch oven. Put aside. Add a little olive oil to the pan with the meat juices and cook the grated carrot, celery, onion, garlic and thyme together until soft and translucent, add a pinch of salt. Add the tomato paste and caramelize in the pan with the veggies. Return the beef to the pan and cook together. Add the wine and a little bit of water so the beef is almost covered. Let simmer for about 20 minutes (could cook for hours on low heat as ragu is traditionally made). Once the sauce is done, the meat should have reduced, and the sauce should be granular, but no large chunks of veggie or meat and have a nice orange fatty hue to it. In a large bowl, combine the ragu with the pureed pumpkin, cheese and an egg. Stir well, and pour into a prepared crust. Top with extra grated cheese and bake about 45 minutes. Serve hot.

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