Have you heard about it? Two words I offer in response: WHO CARES? Because roasting a pumpkin is about the easiest thing to do. And it's a good way to heat up a cold kitchen.
It's important though to buy the right kind of pumpkin.
Not one of these. You want a sugar pie or baking pumpkin. The jack-o-lantern kind are full of stringy stuff and will leave with nothing but a bunch of orange water (don't ask how I know this).
Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff.
Place cut side down in a roasting pan filled with about an inch of water. This steams the pumpkin as it bakes. Roast at 350 degrees until skin starts to brown and can be easily pierced with a sharp knife.
When pumpkin is cooled enough to handle, spoon mixture into a food mill (one of the most useful low-tech. kitchen gadgets ever—makes the perfect mashed potatoes) and apply a little elbow grease.
The mixture is fine in the refrigerator for a few days and freezes well.
And it's not just for pie. There's bread! And soup! And risotto! Stir some into your favorite pancake recipe, add a few pumpkin-friendly spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove), and you have pumpkin pancakes!
But on the subject of Thanksgiving desserts, I've decided on three: pumpkin pie, apple crumb pie, and a new one: bourbon pecan tart, a recipe in Bon Appetit by my personal pie mentor, Carolyn Weil. I'm excited about the tart: It sounds like a great alternative to the standard pecan pie.
On other fronts, I seem to be going down in flames. We're having ambrosia. And after giving Husband the final call, we're also having rolls. He wants them for mopping gravy, and I was swayed by the argument that Thanksgiving is a feast and not meant to be a nutritionally reasonable meal. But I am drawing the line: We are not saying grace. It's my house. My dinner. No grace. No discussion. We're just giving thanks. Period.