For the past several years, when Halloween rolls around, I've cooked something involving pumpkin. Halloween to me just screams pumpkin recipes, which is kind of funny considering I was almost 19 years old the first time I ever tried pumpkin pie, and in my 20s the first time I tried cooking anything with pumpkin. Yes, seriously! I'd heard of pumpkin pie, but things like that are only available over here if you make them yourself, or know someone who can, so it was when I spent some time living in Canada that I first tasted pumpkin pie. Needless to say, the next time I tried it I had to make it myself, and since pumpkins are only readily available around Halloween, and it's only in the last couple of years we've had the option to order canned pumpkin, my pumpkin pie making, and cooking of any other pumpkin themed recipes, generally has to be done around Halloween, which sort of helps to solidify the association in my mind with pumpkin recipes and halloween.
Yeah, I know Halloween was a couple of weeks ago. Just bear with me here, OK? I couldn't do this post until after I'd done my Halloween baking for this year, and this is the first chance I'm getting to sort it. Besides, I'm pretty sure it's in time for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this month, some of whom may want to do some pumpkin themed baking for that holiday.
Anyway, a favourite pumpkin themed recipe of mine is pasta with pumpkin sage sauce and cheese, which I've cooked at least once every year since I discovered the recipe - not always on Halloween, but always around this time of year - and which has proven to be popular with everyone I've tried it on. But I've also tried a couple of other pumpkin themed recipes (some savoury, some sweet). Plus, I've tweaked the sauce recipe a bit a couple of times. I've cooked it with and without the onion, I've substituted the nutmeg for pumpkin spice, and I've made it using completely different herbs and spices. I've also used the pumpkin sage sauce in a vegetable bake (in its original form, and with different herbs and spices in it) which worked out well too.
If you're interested, you can find most of the pumpkin themed recipes I've used on my website's recipe section, including the recipe for the above mentioned pumpkin sage sauce, and one for pumpkin pie. You won't find the variations for the sauce though, so you'll have to ask me about that if you want to know what I did.
My recipe section also has a pumpkin pasty recipe on it, but the pumpkin pasty recipe you'll find on my website is for sweet pumpkin pasties. Those are pretty good, but I decided last year that I wanted to make savoury versions. So I made pumpkin and vegetable pasties, which turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, nobody can vouch for me on this one, since Kelly was the only one around when I made them, and wasn't interested in trying them; he's often reluctant to try new recipes, especially vegetarian ones. Anyway, they consisted of potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, and pumpkin puree, cooked up and then mixed together before being wrapped up in pastry and baked until the pastry was golden brown.
This year, however, I decided to take a different approach to making a savoury pumpkin pasty; I wanted the focus to be on the pumpkin, rather than all the other veggies in it. So I decided to make some of the pumpkin sage sauce I love so much, though without the onions, and with pumpkin spice in place of the nutmeg. Then I cooked up some potatoes to mix with it, and used that mixture to make my pasties. Apparently this version sounded much more appealing to my generally strictly meat and potatoes eating hubby, because Kelly actually agreed to try these ones. Anyway, they turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself, and Kelly seemed to agree.
By the way, the pumpkin sauce - regardless of the version you're making - and both versions of the savoury pasties, can be frozen after cooking, to be defrosted and reheated. I've intentionally made extra so as to try it out, and just thought I'd mention it, in case you were wondering.