In our last post, we gave you a few ideas for soups and salads as a means of polishing off all the extra pumpkin you may have in preparation for Halloween. This time, we look into main courses. While they are a member of the squash family, pumpkins are incredibly versatile foodstuffs as they can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.

We take a look at two family favourites that can easily incorporate pumpkins to spice up your evening meal in October.

Chicken Gnocchi with Bacon in Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients -

  • Salt and pepper to Taste
  • ½ Teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2x Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 170g Parmesan cheese
  • 200g Sliced spring onions
  • 200g Sliced bacon
  • 225g Cream cheese, cubed
  • 300g Diced chicken breasts
  • 340g Pumpkin puree
  • 250ml Milk
  • 2 Packets/900g Gnocchi

To Make -
Start off by bringing a large pot of water to boil over a high heat, and then adding your gnocchi and cooking them according to the directions on the packaging. Once the gnocchi is well cooked, drain the water, add a little olive oil to the gnocchi in order to keep them moist and to prevent them from sticking and then set them aside.

Fry your bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy (or as you like it) and then place the bacon in a paper lined plate to drain off any fat remaining. Add your diced chicken to the pan, seasoning it with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly fry your chicken until it is no longer pink and then remove it from the pan and set it aside.

Drain the pan of any remaining fat and then add in your cream cheese. Stir the cream cheese gently until it starts to melt, adding in the pumpkin puree, parmesan cheese, paprika, chilli powder and garlic powder afterwards. Stir in your milk until the mixture is fully combined and smooth. Add your gnocchi, chicken and bacon to the pan and gently stir together for about 5 minutes, letting the sauce warm the gnocchi, bacon and chicken respectively. Your sauce should be thick and creamy at this point, but if it is too thick you can always add a little more milk to thin it out.

Season the dish with salt and pepper if needs be, then add your spring onions and serve immediately. The rich flavours of the chicken and bacon complement the creamy pumpkin sauce beautifully and really helps to warm the cockles of your heart.

Pumpkin Lasagne for Vegetarians

Ingredients -

    • Paprika and nutmeg, to taste
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 25g Parmesan style vegetarian grated cheese
    • 250g Fresh ricotta cheese
    • 250g Green lasagne pasta sheets
    • 1kg Pumpkin; which has been peeled, the seeds removed and then cut into small cubes
    • 90ml Extra virgin olive oil
    • 150ml Milk

For the Bechamel Sauce -

    • 55g Butter
    • 55g Plain flour
    • 350ml Milk

To Make -
Firstly, preheat your oven to 180C then heat the olive oil in a large pan with medium depth. Add your pumpkin to the oil. Cook it for about an hour, stirring occasionally until it is cooked and tender. Season your pumpkin with paprika, a grating of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

While your pumpkin is still on the heat, add your ricotta cheese and then stir it well. After stirring, remove it from the heat, covering the mixture and allowing it to stand while you prepare the bechamel sauce. Melt your butter in a small saucepan, adding the flour little by little while stirring so that lumps do not form as you stir. Once the flour has evenly absorbed the butter, you will need to cook the sauce for a further 4 minutes or so. Then simply add the milk a little at a time, stirring gently until you create a smooth and creamy sauce.

Arrange a layer of your lasagne sheets in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Now spoon around a third of the pumpkin mixture over your lasagne sheets lay more sheets over the top and then rinse and repeat until you have a nice layered sandwich of pasta and pumpkin. Finish your lasagne off with a final layer of pasta sheets and then pour your milk over the top, allowing it to drain through to all the pasta layers. Bake the mixture for 10 minutes in the oven, then remove the lasagne and spread your bechamel sauce on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until all the milk has been absorbed and the lasagne starts to look nice and crisp.

Remove your bake from the oven to sprinkle parmesan-style grated cheese on top and then place back in the oven for a final few minutes. Make sure to watch the lasagne at this point, as burnt parmesan won't taste particularly nice. Serve your bake immediately with salad or garlic bread. What a delicious way of finishing off your extra pumpkin supplies!