November 16th, 2011
The pumpkin is a native American squash, beloved for centuries for its sweet flesh and savoury seeds. American Indians dried strips of pumpkin during the fall harvest for use through the winter. Today, thanks to canning and freezing, we can eat pumpkin whenever we please. But for me, pumpkin is one of the few foods — like hot apple cider — that retains its exclusively fall appeal. And suddenly it’s pumpkin season!
In the past few days, I’ve found myself nearly swimming in pumpkin. Yesterday it was a slice of pumpkin pie with whole wheat crust at lunch and criminally decadent pumpkin and coconut ice cream (two different flavors sharing the same bowl) after dinner. Tonight, I treated myself to a box of fresh pumpkin ravioli from Raffetto’s* to go with the rest of my homemade sun-dried tomato pesto and a bottle of Wild Horse central coast pino noir that pairs perfectly with sweet and savoury.
And I mustn’t forget the two sweet pie pumpkins waiting in my larder to become Thanksgiving dessert. Needless to say, there are a number of pumpkin pie receipts from the mid-19th century. I’ve got my research homework cut out for me this weekend.
*Raffetto’s is a small, family-owned Italian food store on West Houston Street that has been supplying Greenwich Village with delectable fresh pasta for more than 100 years. They’re still going strong and tasty, one of the few holdovers from the early 20th century when Little Italy stretched north to the south eastern section of the Village. If you’re in New York, or planning a visit, you owe yourself a taste!