MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This is the time of year when you see pumpkins decorating yards and tabletops. They’re pretty and fun to carve. But they are even better to eat, and we’re not talking about making pies.

This morning we want to show you some ways you can cook with pumpkin, while boosting the nutritional value of your dishes.

Its bright color makes it hard to ignore, and you really shouldn’t pass the pumpkin.

It’s good for you — full of vitamin A and vitamin C.

“And it’s got magnesium in it which helps you sleep. And it’s really good for your skin,” said chef Michele Licata.

Licata teaches classes at cooking schools. This fall she’s been busy showing people how to add pumpkin to recipes and that includes, risotto.

“Risotto is one of those foods. It’s Italian. Risotto to Italy is what macaroni and cheese is to America. Ultimate comfort food that is creamy and delicious,” Licata said.

Pumpkins are technically squash, so that means you can use butternut squash as a substitute. This dish has arborio rice, shallots, garlic, Parmesan cheese, chicken stock and dried cranberries in it.

The butternut squash gives it a lovely fall color plus a vitamin boost.

And if you have more of a sweet tooth, you can add pumpkin to your gingerbread. Or you can make pumpkin butter, which is much like apple butter — or even a pumpkin chutney, to compliment any meat.

If you’re buying canned pumpkin, make sure it’s pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.

If you are using fresh ones, make sure they are pie pumpkins and not the huge ones used for decoration.

Licata is teaching a class on cooking with pumpkin at the end of the month at Chef’s Abode cooking school. That’s in Lilydale. It’s on Oct. 27.

Pumpkin Waffles

Licata also made pumpkin waffles for us, topped off with pumpkin butter.

Here’s how she did it.


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