There is a season: Turning the last of the pumpkins into sauce

  • Subbing in for a red sauce on homemade pizza is a pumpkin sauce topped with blue cheese, pears and parmesan. MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 12/5/2020 1:32:42 PM

For the fourth year in a row, we ended up with too many pumpkins. This didn’t bother me one bit, but my husband started making noises about how he hadn’t seen the kitchen counter in two months.

To appease him, I roasted the two remaining sugar pumpkins during my Thanksgiving preparations. One became a pumpkin pie with Middle Eastern spices, which Rich just finished for breakfast this morning. The second one sat there in a metal bowl, mocking me every time I opened the fridge for more pie.

So when my girls asked for pizza night on Sunday morning, I agreed to it immediately. I summoned Rich to work on the dough for us. (Rich’s high school job was at Bertucci’s Test Kitchen, and he learned how to make pizza there. He’s quite proud of this.)

The girls would have plain sauce and mozzarella cheese on their pizza, while I was determined to repurpose leftover odds and ends — including that darn sugar pumpkin.

I remembered a pumpkin sauce I made earlier in the fall to go on cheese tortellini. Instead of using starchy pasta water to thin out the pumpkin, I used stock left over from my cornbread stuffing, and a bit of heavy cream left over from, well, whipping cream. Last month I’d roasted the onions and garlic in a hot toaster oven. This time I caramelized the onions and toasted the garlic on the stove.

I spread a thin layer of pumpkin sauce on the pizza dough, topped it with blue cheese, pears and parmesan. Rich slid it onto the pizza stone on a rack near the floor over the oven. Success! And for Taco Tuesday two days later, I used the left over sauce to smother my spinach and mushroom enchiladas: leftovers twice removed.

The recipe below uses the original toaster oven method for the onions and garlic. If you don’t want to turn on an oven, peel and slice the onion and caramelize it in a pan with oil, salt and patience. Toast the garlic whole, skin on, in a skillet with no oil.

Pumpkin Sauce


1 lb. roasted pumpkin or 15 oz canned pumpkin

Extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet onion

5 cloves unpeeled garlic

Up to 1 ½ cups broth (vegetarian, chicken, Better Than Boullion, and even water are all solid options)

One eighth of a teaspoon fresh nutmeg

2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Salt and fresh black pepper to taste


Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F.

Quarter the onion, leaving the skin on. Place the onion pieces and the unpeeled garlic on a sheet pan. Roast in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.

Once cooled, peel the skins off the onion and garlic, and place, along with the pumpkin, into a blender. Add the stock and blend until smooth.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into a medium-sized saucepan and place on medium-low heat. Stir in a pinch of kosher salt, the nutmeg and the heavy cream.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She's been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. She was furloughed from Smith for the summer and is using the time to work on her first cookbook. Send questions or comments to

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