Nothing is safe in my house when I am looking for an inspiration for dinner. When you buy pumpkins, go for tiny. The big pumpkins are good for cutting up and scaring small people, but once they have a candle melting in them and they have been on your stoop for a few days, why would you want to eat that?
Wash about two or three little pumpkins, cut them into quarters, toss them with olive oil, some red pepper flakes, salt and whole garlic cloves, and roast them on a sheet pan. When the pumpkin is soft, remove from the oven. Dice up a quarter pound of pancetta. Pour a bit of olive oil into a heavy saute pan. Throw in two whole cloves of garlic. Add the pancetta and cook the pancetta until it is beginning to crisp, then add the onion. Try to get the onion into as fine a dice as you can. Continue to cook until the oninon is completely softened. Add a few red pepper flakes, a half teaspoon of crushed coriander, a sprig of thyme, and give it a stir. Taste for salt. You won’t need to add much since the pancetta is already salty. When all this is delicious, remove the pumpkin from it’s skin and add it to the pan with a little stock, or the juice from a can of San Marzano tomatoes. Let it simmer for a minute. Taste again for salt, and adjust the liquid. You can add a little hot water if you need it. It should have just a bit of extra liquid, but it shouldn’t be super soupy.
Make your croutons by slicing a ciabatta or baguette on the diagonal, toasting them, and then rubbing a garlic clove over them very lightly, and giving them a drizzle of olive oil. Set one in a soup bowl. Ladle the pumpkin on top. Give it a dallop of fresh ricotta cheese, and an extra drizzle of olive oil. This is also good topped with parsley chopped super fine with a bit of fresh lemon zest, (no pith), a teeny bit of smashed and minced raw garlic, and some olive oil.
Serve with oven roasted red peppers and a salad of bitter greens, or a salad of thinly sliced fennel and thinly sliced apple dressed with lemon, olive oil and salt.
Roast pork is also delicious with this with a fruity glass of red wine.
If you do use the last of your little pumpkins for this, you are going to have to go out and buy more if they did originally belong to the shorter set. It’s not right taking other people’s stuff.