Q:I want to make a pumpkin pie using a fresh pumpkin. How do I prepare the pumpkin? Linda Walker, Lakewood, CA
A: The best pumpkin for this is a pie pumpkin (called sugar pumpkins in some regions). The best way to cook it is to roast it, like you would a butternut squash. So cut it into halves or quarters (depending on its size), scoop out the seeds (save those for toasting later, if you'd like), and put the pieces in a roasting pan with about half a cup of water, and roast it in a medium-hot oven till it's really tender. Scoop it out of the skin with a spoon once it's cool enough to handle, then puree it in a food processor or blender to make sure all the stringy bits are gone. One pumpkin should give you about two cups of puree, which you can then season and use for pie, ravioli, risotto, or simply as a side dish.
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