An easy DIY pumpkin serving bowl holds Anne Burrell's spooktacular beef and sausage stew with roasted pumpkin that she made on our Halloween episode.
"Every year, my mother would make what she called 'Blood Vessel' stew," Anne says. "My friends would always be like, 'Is your mom making Blood Vessel stew?' So it was just a lovely thing from my childhood."
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound sweet and/or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 cups tomato paste
- 3 cups hearty red wine
- 1 pound ziti rigate
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 to 12 sprigs thyme, tied with kitchen string
- One 12-inch-diameter large cheese pumpkin
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 425˚F.
Place onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the food processor and pulse into a coarse paste. In a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, coat the pan with oil. Add vegetables, season generously with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned and the water has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add beef and sausage to the pan and season with salt. Cook until beef is browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook until it browns, 4 to 5 minutes. Add red wine and let it reduce by half. Add enough water to cover the meat by about an inch. Add bay and thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 ½ to 4 hours; as the water evaporates, add more water a few cups at a time and season with salt as needed.
While the sauce simmers, make your pumpkin serving bowl: Using a small serrated knife with a pointed tip or a store-bought pumpkin carving kit, cut a hole large enough for your hand to fit through the top of the pumpkin, around the stem.
Measure ¾ of the way from the bottom of the pumpkin in 4 equidistant places and make a small mark with your knife or a marker. Then, using the same pumpkin carving knife, carefully cut a straight line from the top hole of the pumpkin to each of the marks you made. Then carefully cut around the pumpkin, connecting the four marks and remove and reserve the resulting 4 pumpkin pieces.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin of the 4 reserved pumpkin pieces and scrape off any pumpkin guts from the inside of the pieces. Cut each piece into ½-inch cubes and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
Scoop out the rest of the pumpkin guts with a large spoon and discard. Make sure to scrape the inside of the pumpkin well—this will be the serving bowl. Use a vegetable peeler to smooth out the edges of your bowl.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt; the water should taste salty like the ocean. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, toss your pumpkin cubes with a few generous splashes of olive oil and season with salt. Roast the squash cubes until edges are golden brown but the cubes retain their structure, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove half of the ragu from the pan and reserve for another meal.
Drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking water. Add pasta to the pan with half of the ragu and the reserved cooking water and continue cooking over medium heat for another minute or so or until the water evaporates. Mix in some Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir in the roasted pumpkin cubes.
Pour into the prepared pumpkin bowl and top with more parm.