Permutations in Pumpkin

From autumn well into the new year, menus all over New York City boast pumpkin this and pumpkin that—and often the star ingredient winds up stuffed inside dough.

Becco (not always a Chowhound favorite) does do right by pumpkin in ravioli, which turns up as a seasonal special. One recent knockout, Will4Food reports, was made with cocoa-flavored pasta and served in delicious brown-butter sauce. Another came in a haunting coconut sauce, says PhishFoodie. Cucina di Pesce takes a different, richer tack, pairing pumpkin ravioli with a sumptuous pesto cream sauce.

Smart shoppers can easily throw this dish together at home. Fairway Market’s house-made pumpkin ravioli are fresh and tasty. Serve them in a quick, simple sage butter and crush some walnuts over the top, aefitz suggests.

For a Slavic variation on the theme, kathryn recommends Veselka, the Ukrainian diner where pumpkin sometimes turns up in the rotation of pierogi fillings.

In Chinatown, Cantonese favorite Amazing 66 turns the idea inside out in a tour de force “casserole” of beef short ribs, long stewed inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. This blowout banquet dish must be ordered ahead, Brian S advises. It’s off the menu but is fondly remembered by regulars at the late Danny Ng, where Amazing 66 got its chef; just ask and the people there will take care of you.

Another inventive Asian spin on pumpkin can be found at Aki on West 4th, which constructs an elaborate “napoleon” of mashed eel, pumpkin, fried tofu, and ginger.

In homey contrast, SobaKoh serves a special of kabocha, or Japanese pumpkin, in a humble yet elegant preparation: simmered in soy-flavored broth. It’s a common dish, done uncommonly well. Too many other restaurants undercook it, complains Lau.

Mexican cooks get to the very heart of the pumpkin, dispensing with the flesh and grinding the seeds with tomatillos in the classic pipian mole. A couple of hound-endorsed versions are served at Tulcingo del Valle and Festival Mexicano.

Two other worthy bites are pumpkin–goat cheese croquetas at tapas joint Casa Mono and a fennel-roasted pumpkin salad at the newish Back Forty.

Naturally, pumpkin plays well in sweet dishes as well as savory ones.

Alongside the usual pork-and-chive snacks, Dumpling Man offers a treat dubbed the Sweetie Pie, filled with pumpkin, goji berries, raisins, honey, and condensed milk. kathyyl has just one word for it: “Woohoo!”

rose water loves the pumpkin muffins at Sarabeth’s, crowned with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Cheesecake specialist Eileen’s does a scrumptious pumpkin variety that departs from the classic dense New York style, nas9211 reports. Even non–doughnut lover nycskigal concedes that Doughnut Plant’s pumpkin doughnuts are amazingly good.

And no matter how frigid the weather, it’s never too cold for a nice pumpkin sorbet. kathryn swears by the version at Il Laboratorio del Gelato.

It has come to our attention, as weird as this sounds, that pumpkin can also be baked inside a pie. Chowhound favorites include those from Buttercup Bake Shop, Little Pie Company, Mitchel London Foods, Two Little Red Hens, and the above-mentioned Sarabeth’s.

Becco [Theater District]
355 W. 46th Street (between Eighth and Ninth avenues), Manhattan

Cucina di Pesce [East Village]
87 E. Fourth Street (between Second Avenue and Bowery), Manhattan

Fairway Market [Upper West Side]
2127 Broadway (between W. 74th and 75th streets), Manhattan

Veselka [East Village]
144 Second Avenue (at E. Ninth Street), Manhattan

Amazing 66 [Chinatown]
66 Mott Street (between Bayard and Canal streets), Manhattan

Aki on West 4th [Greenwich Village]
181 W. Fourth Street (near Jones Street), Manhattan

SobaKoh [East Village]
309 E. Fifth Street (between Second and First avenues), Manhattan

Tulcingo del Valle [Clinton]
665 10th Avenue (between W. 46th and 47th streets), Manhattan

Festival Mexicano [Lower East Side]
120 Rivington Street (between Essex and Norfolk streets), Manhattan

Casa Mono [Gramercy]
52 Irving Place (near E. 17th Street), Manhattan

Back Forty [East Village]
190 Avenue B (at E. 12th Street), Manhattan

Dumpling Man [East Village]
100 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A), Manhattan

Sarabeth’s Bakery [Chelsea]
In Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue (between W. 15th and 16th streets), Manhattan

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake [SoHo]
17 Cleveland Place (near Kenmare Street), Manhattan

Doughnut Plant [Lower East Side]
379 Grand Street (between Clinton and Suffolk streets), Manhattan

Il Laboratorio del Gelato [Lower East Side]
95 Orchard Street (between Broome and Delancey streets), Manhattan

Buttercup Bake Shop [Midtown East]
973 Second Avenue (between E. 51st and 52nd streets), Manhattan

Little Pie Company [Clinton]
424 W. 43rd Street (between 9th and 10th avenues), Manhattan

Mitchel London Foods [Upper East Side]
22 E. 65th Street (between Madison and Fifth avenues), Manhattan

Two Little Red Hens [Upper East Side]
1652 Second Avenue (between E. 85th and 86th streets), Manhattan

Board Links: Everything Pumpkin
Pepian Sauce
pumpkin pie?

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