Stuffed Baby Pumpkins with Rice Pilaf

These sweet and beautiful little squash make an elegant side dish for a fall meal. The spices in the rice are paired with the brown sugar and spices in the pumpkin. You can eat the entire pumpkin, skin and all. I allow one per person.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Yield: 10 servings

Carefully wash the pumpkins. Cut the top (with stem) off, preserve. Remove the seeds and discard. Put about 1 tsp. oil and 1 tsp. brown sugar in each pumpkin. Sprinkle with small amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Replace the tops. Put about 1/2" water in the bottom of a pyrex baking pan, large enough to hold the pumpkins in a single layer. Cover the pan, and bake only until the pumpkins are tender - don't let them dry out. This usually takes about 35-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 3 quart pot. Sauté the onion in the oil until translucent. Briefly sauté the rice with the onion until all grains are coated with oil. Add the spices and slowly add all the broth while stirring. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot, and cook slowly until almost all the liquid is gone, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir with a fork. Adjust the salt.
To serve, spoon rice into baby pumpkin, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, and replace pumpkin top.
These can be made in advance and reheated. I prefer to heat the rice and pumpkin separately (and very carefully to avoid drying out either one of them), and then I fill the pumpkins.

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