Add some WOW factor this Thanksgiving with a beautiful cheese-stuffed pumpkin centrepiece dish. Filled with shrimp and cheesy goodness, this dish is full of rich and rustic flavours, and will surely impress your guests!
Makes approximately 5-6 servings
2 lb of Toppits Shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 medium Cinderella pumpkin, about 12"
1 cooking onion, finely diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chilli peppers, de-seeded to taste
2 cups ripe tomatoes, finely chopped, seeds and pulp removed
1 tbsp fresh thyme
3 tbsp tomato paste
8-10 oz cream cheese
8-14 slices of mozzarella cheese
2-3 tbsp corn starch
salt & black pepper to taste
Note: some ingredient quantities will vary depending on your pumpkin size, adjust accordingly
1. Wash your pumpkin and cut off the top lid. Clean out pulp and seeds and discard. Brush the inside of the pumpkin with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin upside down on a lined baking sheet into a 375˚ pre-heated oven and bake for 60 minutes. After 45 minutes, frequently check the pumpkin to avoid overcooking and collapsing. Your pumpkin is cooked when a toothpick can pierce the skin without resistance, and the inner flesh is soft. Don't forget to cook the pumpkin lid if you intend to use it as part of the presentation!
2. In a heavy-bottom pot, add remaining olive oil and on medium heat, sautee onions, garlic and chilli peppers for about 5-7 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add tomato paste, tomatoes and thyme, and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft.
3. Add shrimp to the pot and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.
4. Add softened cream cheese and heavy cream to the pot, mix well. Depending on how watery your filling is, create a slurry to thicken the cheese filling by mixing 2-3 tbsp of corn starch with 1/4 cup of water. Add slurry to your filling and mix well to thicken.
5. Season the fully cooked cheese filling with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Once the pumpkin has cooked and slightly cooled, place mozzarella slices on the interior walls of the pumpkin to create a cheese layer. Place the pumpkin on a serving dish/platter.
7. Fill your pumpkin with your cheesy filling and serve! Sprinkle some finely chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.
Note: When serving your guests, don't forget to scrape some pumpkin flesh with every serving, but be mindful not to pierce the walls and cause the pumpkin to collapse.