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How to cook pumpkin and squash

They aren't just for fall decorations!

I was certainly surprised when I cooked pumpkin for the first time and actually enjoyed it. You see, I've never been a fan of pumpkin-flavored foods, but when I learned of using pumpkin on a pizza I was intrigued. The taste was savory, not the sweetness that comes with a food like pumpkin pie, for example.

My plan was to use cooked pumpkin, caramelized onions, and Delicata squash (another vine crop in the family of Curcurbita - Illinois Extension) as the toppings on my two-ingredient pizza dough (yet another new cooking adventure for me).

I'll share with you two things I learned about cooking with pumpkin and squash:

Cooking pumpkin is simple, but they are sturdy, and you need a sharp knife. I cut my pumpkin into segments (like slicing melon) then I boiled in water for about 5 minutes. Next, I drained the pumpkin and peeled the rind. To soften the pumpkin meat, I sautéed it in olive oil for about 10 minutes until fork tender – not mushy!

The Delicata squash only required a quick cleaning and slicing. Leave the rind and take the seeds out if you don't like the extra crunch however it’s all edible. I sautéed the rings of squash in olive oil for about 10 minutes until fork tender.

Embarking on a cooking adventure using foods you've never used before or previously thought you didn’t like can sometimes yield unexpected results; you never know if you will enjoy a food to its finest flavor if you don’t take some cooking risk. Try my pumpkin squash pizza recipe.

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