Okay, I know it’s “that time of the year”, but I am loathe to eat and drink all of the super-sweet pumpkin-y stuff that’s out. I don’t have much use for the toaster tarts, sandwich cookies or coffee drinks these days because to me they’re too freaking chock full of sugar, even for me. Give me a savory pumpkin dish, though, and you have a friend forever.

So, here is my contribution. It’s good as a holiday side, but just fabulous as an alternative to mac ‘n cheese.

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Savory Pumpkin Spaetzle Gratin

2 bay leaves
1 c. pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 egg
1 tsp. olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of black pepper
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

4 oz thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, thinly sliced
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Pinch of nutmeg
1 c. grated gruyere
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the spaetzle:

Crack the egg into a medium bowl and beat it a little. Add the pumpkin, olive oil, and nutmeg and blend. Using a strong rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, beatin the flour and salt a little at a time. You should have a really sticky, fairly smooth mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Bring the water and bay leaves to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
Position a spaetzle maker, large colander, or medium-gauge shredder* over the boiling water. Working in small batches, squish the dough through the tool of your choosing, into the water. The spaetzle is done when it floats to the surface and boils there for 30 seconds. Remove them from the pot and rinse in a colander under cold water to stop them continuing to cook.
Once all the spaetzle is cooked and cooled, pour into a shallow baking dish and set aside.

For the gratin:

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Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cook the bacon until crispy. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat. Add the sliced shallot and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown. Add the sage and toss together to combine. Remove from heat.

Combine the milk and cream in a separate bowl with the egg and yolk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk until fully combined. Sprinkle in the cheese, stir well, then pour evenly over the spaetzle.
Bake until the top is golden and bubbly, approximately 25 minutes.

Eat with reckless abandon.

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At the risk of being a teeny bit annoying, I’m just going to let it out: pumpkin season makes me want to shriek with joy. Yep, I have sipped my pumpkin latte (I waited until September), noshed on pumpkin-flavored bagels, and have tried more than one brand of pumpkin yogurt (all with varying degrees of satisfaction), and I am soooo not even close to being done.

Feels a little early for pumpkin pie, though, no?

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Savory Pumpkin Tart

Instead, I am celebrating my favorite gourd with a savory tart- creamy, cheesy, herb-y, and delicious, redolent with all the pumpkin flavor I can pack in, but without spoiling my appetite for the sweet version I will be enjoying  around Thanksgiving. FYI- there is another National Pumpkin Pie Day, on December 25 th.

Savory Pumpkin Gruyere Tart


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Pinch ground black pepper

10 Tbsp (5 oz) cold butter, cut into pieces

2 Tbsp cold water

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar



2 Tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small-ish sugar pie pumpkin, peeled, insides removed, and chopped into 1″ cubes

1 tsp fresh sage, minced

1/8 tsp cayenne

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tsp dark rum

1 1/4 cups grated Gruyere

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

2 Tbsp raw pepitas


To make the crust: Combine the flour, cheese, baking powder, salt, pepper and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the pieces of butter are approximately the size of peas. Sprinkle in the water and vinegar and continue to pulse until evenly distributed and a rough dough begins to take shape. Do not overmix. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and flatten. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

To make the filling: Heat the oil in a deep-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring often, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the pumpkin, salt and pepper, cayenne and sage, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and allow to cook gently for 10 or so minutes. Stir and check the moisture. If the pan has become dry and the pumpkin is beginning to take on color, add a 1/4 cup water, stir, and cover. Simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the pumpkin pieces have cooked through and are easily squished with a fork. Uncover the pan and allow any moisture to cook off, stirring gently. Add the rum, then the cream. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of the Gruyere and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, being careful not to mash the pumpkin as you stir. Allow to cool.

Roll out the crust to 1/8″ thickness and line a 9″ tart ring with it. Cut away any excess dough and reserve for future snacking. Chill the dough for a few minutes. Add the filling to the crust, being sure not to leave any air pockets between the crust and filling. The result should be a fairly tightly packed tart. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and pepitas on top.

Bake in a 375 oven on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing the ring and serving.