by Lisa

Our children’s school has a great tradition of hosting a social for the parents (only!) of each grade in the early months of the year.  Some of Ella’s third grade class has been together since pre-school & it’s a terrific group of parents and children. This year, our enterprising room parents decided on a wine tasting + bring your own tapas party, and it was inspired.  We have a lot of great cooks in the class who brought things like sesame glazed chicken drumettes, bacon-wrapped figs stuffed with an almond, several varieties of stuffed mushrooms, a warm artichoke dip, etc. etc.

Staying with our theme of fall rooting for our team, I made Pumpkin Toast, a recipe I found in Food and Wine years ago and have been making every fall I remember.  The original recipe is here. Below is the version that has evolved in my house.

Pumpkin Toast with Cilantro Pesto

  • Pumpkin puree (from a can, or roasted and pureed fresh)
  • Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese, finely grated, about 1 cup, depending on pumpkin
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch
  • garlic, 1-2 cloves
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Bread–whatever you like, a whole grain loaf is terrific with the pumpkin, but I use Italian all the time–sliced into rounds or thin strips.
  1. Mix equal amounts pumpkin puree and grated cheese.  One can of pumpkin + an equal amount of cheese is a good amount for one loaf of bread. Set aside
  2. In a food processor, mix one bunch cilantro leaves, garlic, a handful of walnuts, more cheese + enough olive oil to make a pesto.
  3. Spread a layer of pesto on each bread slice.
  4. Top pesto with a generous spoonful of pumpkin + cheese.
  5. Top, if you like, with toasted walnuts, or a little shredded cheese. Or nothing.
  6. Toast in a 400 degree oven until bread is slightly crisp and pumpkin is warmed through.

We ate a variation of this last night with our dinner. To make it quicker for a weeknight, we toasted just the pumpkin + cheese mix on bread. It’s not quite as good without the pesto, but it’s a great family side dish/appetizer for a cold night.

More orange appetizers for the SF Giants Game!