Stuffed Pumpkin

Adapted from Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (1972). I became a vegetarian at Woodstock, and never missed meat much, except at Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday). For a few years I just had a hole on my plate where the turkey would be. Then I discovered this recipe, and have made it every year for maybe 25 years.



2 qts water
1 potato, peeled and cut into lg. cubes
1 smallish carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, washed and coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 full head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
1/4 tsp thyme
Pinch of sage


5 tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cup white rice (preferably arborio)
1/2 cup Marsala wine (or sherry, or water)
5-6 cups garlic broth (see below)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp saffron
Salt and pepper


1 /2 recipe risotto milanese (above)
1 lg eggplant (min. 1 lb), peeled and cubed
Butter and olive oil
6 scallions (green onions), chopped
3-4 carrots, scraped or peeled, thickly sliced
1+ cup cooked kidney beans (canned OK)
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds



I realize this is a huge recipe, but it's a great alternative for vegetarians for Thanksgiving.

There's no denying this recipe is a bit of work, but so worth it. I'm usually the only vegetarian at the table, but everyone loves this dish. (One year my pumpkin had gone rotten, so I put it into a casserole dish; boy did I get flack!) It does add a certain festive note to the table. Usually I buy my pumpkin before Halloween, but if you have a health food store nearby, they can probably get you one later.

A few notes on the recipe itself: You can skip the garlic broth recipe and just use broth (or, heavens! --water), but it really does add a lot. I usually make the broth the weekend before Thanksgiving. Also, it has become a treasured tradition to have half the (first) risotto the night before.

Feel free to add/change ingredients in the second risotto. I frequently add chestnuts, to remind me of my Mom's chestnut stuffing I grew up with. Walnuts or pecans are also good additions, or replacements for the seeds.

Oh, the seeds: I like to roast raw seeds dry in my cast-iron pan, but you can also roast them in the oven. If you buy roasted and salted seeds, do not add any additional salt. If anyone actually makes this, I'd love to hear from you. One caution: read the entire recipe carefully before you start. Happy Thanksgiving!


Combine all ingredients. Bring to boil, then simmer 30- 45 min. Discard all veggies and store broth in fridge. (Can adjust ingredients to taste, but be sure to use lots of garlic!)

In a lg. heavy-bottomed pan, melt butter and saute onion until transparent. Add rice; stir until all grains are coated. Stir in Marsala, then add 5 cups hot broth, salt and pepper, and saffron. Stir well. Cover pan tightly and lower heat. Cook 20 min. then check to see if rice is done. If it needs more time, add more broth if needed. Rice should be tender, but not mushy, and all broth should be absorbed. Serve half Wed. night - with butter and grated parmesan. Use the remaining half for the following recipe.

(Prepare pumpkin before starting this recipe.) Heat a bit of olive oil and butter in lg. pan. Saute scallions lightly a few min. Add eggplant and saute about 10 min, until eggplant is tender. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While eggplant is cooking, steam carrots until half tender, just a few min. Combine leftover risotto (from previous recipe) with carrots, eggplant mixture, and everything else. Check seasonings, adding more salt, pepper as desired.

1 medium pumpkin, about 8 lb (make sure it fits in your oven!)

Cut the top off the pumpkin (carefully, and save the top). Scrape out all the seed and pulp. Puncture the inside walls of the pumpkin with a fork here and there. Sprinkle soy sauce (or Worcestershire if you prefer) on the inside. Set it aside to marinate turning the pumpkin on a different side every once in a while. Fill with the risotto, and replace the lid, replacing in the same way it was cut out (so it's a relatively tight fit). Put pumpkin on pie plate or other shallow dish, and bake at 425 F about an hour, or until pumpkin is soft and skin begins to char and blister. Serve hot, scooping out generous servings of the filling along with some of the soft pumpkin as well.

See other recipes submitted by Chet Day