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The Daily Need

Roasted pumpkin à la Burton

It’s been reported for more than a decade that when Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) wanted to prove that Clinton aide Vince Foster had been murdered, and had not committed suicide, he took a pumpkin and a pistol into his backyard and “reenacted” the shooting.  What this would prove was never entirely clear, but you’ll find numerous accounts of the story in Time, Newsweek and all the major papers.  Congressman Burton is still around, representing Indiana’s 6th district. No Tea Party threats there. Anyway, this time of year I love to roast and eat pumpkin. It couldn’t be easier.

Photo: Shelley Lewis

Roasted Pumpkin à la Burton


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Start with a small sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin — not a big old Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin.
  3. Stab it a few times, sinking the knife blade in a few inches so steam can escape.
  4. Place it on a lined baking sheet and stick it in the oven. And walk away.
  5. Usually I totally forget it’s in the oven until I smell the delicious aroma, and then I jump up and take it out. That takes about a half hour to 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s cooked because the stem will have some give if you press down on it.  You can also test by slipping a knife in it again — if it doesn’t slide in easily return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
  6. When it’s cooked properly you can easily cut the top off and remove all the seeds. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. At this point, you can mash it, puree it, or just eat it as it is, much like an acorn squash.  I add salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add a tablespoon of butter, cinnamon and nutmeg and even a spoonful of brown sugar if you must have it sweet, but do that when it’s still hot. I keep the bowl in the fridge and just spoon out a few dollops whenever I need a nice side dish.  Pumpkin is full of the anti-oxidant beta carotene.  You know what it’s NOT full of? Calories.  (Unless you add a lot of butter and brown sugar and such.)  Really, it so doesn’t need it.

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

Source: University of Illinois