Seasonal Chef: Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Cinderella Pumpkin

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It’s October and Fall has most definitely arrived. I was very aware of that fact yesterday when I went out in the morning to walk our dog. We have a beautiful cherry tree in front of our house that has begun to shed its leaves, leaving the ground speckled with red. Even now as I look out of my office window I see it’s still filled with green leaves, dots of red all over. Yes, the slow decent to winter has begun. That said, we have a beautiful crop of fall and winter vegetables to enjoy in the meantime. Last week I covered six different types of squash for Seasonal Chef, and this week I have another one to share: Rouge Vif d’Etampes, also known as Cinderella Pumpkin. This French heirloom pumpkin gets its name, as you can imagine, from the fairy tale. The shape looks like her carriage to the ball. The rouge vif d’etampes yields a striking orange puree,

cinderella pumpkin, rouge vif d'etampes

with a sweet flavor to match. After a good rinse to release any dirt that my still be clinging to it, either place in a plastic bag and drop on your porch, or if manageable, use a heavy kitchen knife. After cleaning out the seeds drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375 for about 30 minutes. Alternatively you can peel the skin, chop and microwave. I think it will take about the same amount of time, so roasting is probably easier. Once out, of the oven let it cool a little and then puree the meat in a food processor.

This particular pumpkin has a good deal of liquid, so draining is necessary. Using a large colander lined with 2 layers of paper towel set it over a bowl for about 30 minutes. The one I brought home from the farmers market was about 10 pounds. From that I ended up with about 8 cups of puree.

siberian kale

Pulling together some ingredients I had in the fridge, I made a quick pasta sauce. Along with the Cinderella puree I had an interesting kale variety called Siberian, I picked up from Deb Taft of Mobius Fields Farm. She has a table at the John Jay Farm Market every Saturday. Deb grows a wide variety of squashes, and also some really pretty leafy greens. The Siberian variety has ruffled leaves, but not as tight as winterbor, with a milder flavor.

Pumpkin-Kale Pasta Sauce, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina recipe

After a quick saute of my red onion and garlic I seasoned and wilted the kale, then added the puree. My goal was a 30 minute dinner, and it was just that.

gluten free pasta

Of special note I want to mention a dry pasta I found at Eataly, in New York City. This one is gluten free and made with corn and quinoa. I’m always on the lookout for new GF products for my clients and this one did not disappoint. The flavor is perfect and the best part: it held up beautifully when cooked. I’m not sure if anyone has it in Westchester, but I have seen it on-line.

Pumpkin-Kale Pasta Sauce, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina recipe

So I leave you with this thought: Is it easier to open a can? Sure, but it’s not going to be the same. Every can of canned pumpkin will taste the same. Do yourself a big favor and try out some of the different varieties of squash and pumpkins being harvested right now and showing up at the market. Each and every one has a slightly different taste and texture. It’s fun to try different ones, with different recipes. Click this link to see my recipe for: Fresh Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

As best I can tell, the Cinderella variety is only being grown by Gaia’s Breath Farm. You can find their table in Bronxville, Irvington, Hastings, Gossetts, Larchmont, and every other week at John Jay.

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Tomatillos
Two years ago: Turnips 

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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