My No Excuses November “Conscious eating” column has no check marks so far, because I think like many people, I’m answering my anxiety and sadness with food.
For Halloween I made this terrific Food52 recipe for “fondue” in a pumpkin. It looked even cooler in real life than these pictures, and tasted just as good.
Granted, I had election fog brain at the store so I looked at pumpkins and hadn’t the vaguest idea how to tell how much they weighed. I was at Trader Joe’s, so no handy produce scales to be found. I lifted them up like I was doing triceps, thinking that might help. Alas, nope. Just looked like the woman who was likely going to drop the pumpkin. I ended up buying one smallish pumpkin and one smallish Calabaza Squash (the one that looks like a small, squashed pumpkin with baby powder thrown on it for a hazy grey exterior), a ton of cheese, and went to town.
Follow the directions on the recipe exactly, and you’ll have a really charming, totally indulgent treat. The squash does a good job keeping the insides hot, but as it cools the cheese does get a little stringy. I thought in the future I might make more of a roux so the filling was truly liquid, but that would take this recipe from “low effort, high reward” to “high effort, at least one pot, same reward.” So I present this recipe unchanged.
When you have leftovers which, if you can’t tell how much a squash weighs, you will, count your lucky stars. Scoop all the leftover goodness out, getting as much of the perfectly roasted squash as possible, too. Put it in a tupperware and save it for a dreary fall day.
When that dreary day* strikes, cook your favorite spiral or flat pasta to a hard al dente (an orecchiette or a cavatappi are really great here, but any shape will do).
When the pasta is cooked, mix in all the leftovers, pour in a casserole pan, and add a cup of broth or milk to keep things moist. If you have leftover shredded Gruyère**, toss that on top, too. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
*Or a Sunday. This is a truly excellent contender for Sunday Night Comfort Pasta. Especially if Halloween falls the day before and you’re hungover, and you really need that extra hit of carbs.
**If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell the most fabulous Cheddar Gruyère blend in a block. It gets all the extra sweetness and nuttiness you want, with a little bit of sharpness from that cheddar. And I swear it melts creamier than any other cheese I buy.
Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.