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A sumptuous pumpkin feast

The Scottos of New York’s Fresco restaurant share some tips for creating a fabulous meal from this tasty member of the squash family.
/ Source: TODAY

In the mood for a harvest meal? How about creating a feast from those plentiful, plump, orange fruits you see just about everywhere at this time of year? Yes, those pumpkins you love to carve with crazy faces, or mix up for yummy pies, can make for some delicious dishes. The Scottos: Marion, John, Anthony and Elaina from Manhattan’s Fresco restaurant share their menu for a pumpkin feast on “Today.” Check out their recipes here:


(Serves 10-15)


1 pound of Italian sausage without casing

1 pound of ground beef

1 pound of ground veal

1 chopped onion, 8 ounces

2 pounds cooked rice

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, diced

extra virgin olive oil


In a sauté pan, brown sausage and place in a large bowl. Sauté onion, beef and veal until brown and add to the bowl. Cook and cover rice in lightly salted water until al dente, approximately 20 minutes. Add to bowl, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, rice and meat mixture. Place in scooped out pumpkin and bake for about 20 minutes.


(Serves 6)


8 ounces cheese pumpkin or butternut squash peeled and seeded

3 pounds russet potatoes

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 extra large egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 small Amaretti cookie for grating

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


1. Cut pumpkin into slices approximately two inches thick. Season with salt, pepper and sugar; wrap well in aluminum foil. Cook slowly for about 1 hour at 300 degrees. Unwrap and transfer cooked pumpkin flesh, less any excess juice, to a food processor and puree until smooth; let cool.

2. Place the whole potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover. Cook at a low boil until soft, about 45 minutes. While still warm, peel potatoes and pass through food mill. Place potatoes on to a clean work surface.

3. Make a well in the center of the potatoes, fold in pumpkin puree until evenly incorporated and create another well and sprinkle all over with flour. Break an egg in the center, add salt and mix together with a fork as you would for pasta dough. Once the egg is mixed in, bring dough together and knead into a ball from. Continue to knead for 2-3 minutes until ball is dry to the touch.

4. Bring 7 quarts of water to a boil.

5. Divide dough into 4 balls, roll one ball at a time into a 3/4-inch rope and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Drop dough pieces into boiling water. Cook until they float to the surface. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove gnocchi and transfer into water ice bath. Continue making and cooking gnocchi until dough is gone. Remove gnocchi from ice bath, drain and add to a mixing bowl. Toss with a little olive oil until ready to cook.

6. Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a fry and brown gnocchi by lightly frying them until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl or plate and using a hand grater, grate Amaretti cookie over gnocchi and sprinkle with desired Parmigiano.


(Serves 6)


18 veal cheeks, 3 per person or 6 (2-inch) veal shanks

1 onion, large dice

1 carrot, large dice

1 rib of celery, large dice

4 garlic cloves crusted

1/2 cup olive oil

few sprigs rosemary

few sprigs thyme

few sprigs parsley

4 tablespoons tomato paste

16 ounces red wine

3 quarts beef stock or veal stock


Veal cheeks should be cleaned by butcher by removing tough silver skin and grizzle on 1 side of veal cheeks.


1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and sear off veal cheeks, making sure that they are well browned evenly on both sides. Transfer to a large stewing casserole as they get browned off. Add vegetables with garlic and herbs, cook until golden brown.

3. Add tomato paste to pan and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon vegetables and tomato over veal cheeks in casserole. Remove all grease and deglaze pan with red wine, stirring to loosen any food particles from pan. Add veal stock and cook for 10 minutes, reducing at high heat. Pour content of pan over veal cheeks, cover casserole and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender and can be pierced easily with a knife or skewer. Let cool for at least 2 hours. Carefully remove meat and strain braising liquid removing all vegetables. Place liquid in a heavy sauce pan. Simmer uncovered until liquid is reduced to a rich glossy sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.


(Serves 6)

1 3/4 pint milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup puree cheese pumpkin puree

2 garlic cloves crushed and minced

4-5 ounces yellow corn meal

fresh thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon

2 ounces grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Place milk, cream, butter, thyme, garlic and extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan and bring almost to a boil. Add in pumpkin puree and whisk in polenta in a steady stream until all is blended with no lumps. Continue to stir at a low heat and cook for at least 20-25 minutes until polenta is no longer grainy but smooth and soft. Just before ready to serve, stir in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. If needed to reheat, heat a little extra milk in a sauce pan and gradually whisk into the cool polenta. Heat through, then stir in cheese or butter.



1 cup whole milk ricotta

1 cup solid pack pumpkin

4 eggs

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 pinch salt


1. Combine all ingredients, mix until smooth.

2. Drop heaping tablespoon into hot (350) oil and fry until golden brown.

3. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately. Makes approximately 25-30 fritters.



3 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter or margarine

1 (5 1/3 ounce) can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk

1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 (12 ounce package) butterscotch morsels

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 cup chopped toasted almonds or pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk, pumpkin and spice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 225 (about 10 minutes).

2. Remove from heat, stir in butterscotch morsels. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla. Mix until well blended.

3. Quickly pour into greased 13 x 9 inch pan, spreading just until even. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares. Store tightly wrapped in refrigerator.

All recipes provided by Marion, John, Anthony and Elaina Scotto of New York’s Fresco restaurant. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.