Throwback Thursday | Sweet & Sour Pumpkin

*To read more about what inspired me to start this new blog series, click here!*

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |

I know…more pumpkin.  Hello?  Are you still there?

But in all fairness, this sweet and sour pumpkin dish is totally different than almost any other pumpkin recipe I’ve (and hopefully, you’ve?) ever made in my entire life.  And that is exactly what attracted me to it in the first place.  That and the fact that it reminded me, vaguely, of a dish that Connor and I stumbled upon in a casual restaurant during our trip to Italy last March.

I was feeling nostalgic.

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |

Anyway, back to the point.  What really attracted me to the idea of starting this series back in August was that it gave me an excuse to look through old, in some cases long forgotten, magazine issues and cookbooks and do something different in the kitchen.

I love to come up with my own recipes, don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing more satisfying than creating something incredibly delicious that stemmed purely from an idea.  Food is sort of magical in that way.

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |

But, in all honesty, I think most of those ideas have to come from somewhere.

Whether it’s a dish that you had out at a restaurant a few weeks ago, the last remnants of an empty fridge, a childhood treat, a classic flavor pairing, or just all of your favorite foods smashed (placed delicately?) together on one plate.

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |


But sometimes, life gets in the way.  We’re all busy and it’s easier to stick with what is comfortable and familiar.  With food.  With jobs.  With everything.

Since I don’t work in the (professional) kitchen anymore (another post that is long over due, oops)….I feel that the best way to keep learning and growing as a cook is to continue creating things, make mistakes, and try as many different foods as often as possible.

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |

And yes, they are only recipes.  I’m not going to turn into Rene Redzepi any time soon (or ever, for that matter).  I have no clue how that guy comes up with those ideas, I swear.  Mind boggling.  

But recipes can also expose you to new cooking techniques, new ingredients, and ultimately, the tools it takes to create your own dishes.

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin |

This sweet and sour pumpkin dish is a perfect example of something I never would have come up with on my own.  The original recipe comes from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano cookbook–and is incredibly interesting and different.

I ended up making it twice (just to be sure), cut back the heat a lot (the original called for a teaspoon of red pepper flakes–which was a little excessive), and chopped the pumpkin a bit finer to speed up the cooking process.  Enjoy!

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin

Yield: 4-5 Side Dish Servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Print Print Recipe


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb sugar (pie) pumpkin, de-seeded & peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • small bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped (for garnish)


  1. Peel and de-seed the pumpkin. Chop into 1/2" cubes. Set aside.
  2. Combine red wine vinegar, honey and pepper flakes in separate bowl (tip: to cleanly measure honey, spray measuring device with oil and it will slide off cleanly).
  3. Heat olive oil in large (10-12") non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
  4. Carefully add the pumpkin and garlic. Saute until golden brown (turning down the heat, if necessary) for roughly 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add honey, vinegar, and red pepper mixture. Bring to simmer and cook over medium-low heat for an additional 7-8 minutes, or until glaze has reduced and become syrupy--and pumpkin is cooked through.
  6. Season with salt.
  7. Sprinkle with finely chopped mint and serve immediately with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Recipe barely adapted from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano cookbook (2005).

30 Responses to “Throwback Thursday | Sweet & Sour Pumpkin”

  1. #
    Tieghan — November 7, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    This is the best pumpkin recipe I have seen yet!! I love sweet and sour anything, but the idea of sweet and sour pumpkin sounds INCREDIBLE!
    Oh and I only wish I had access to all these vintage mags and cookbooks! I would kill for them. It’s so fun to look through older stuff that no does anymore!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:21 am

      Wow!!! I am so honored that you would say that. Seriously, that’s a huge compliment. Thank you Tieghan! And totally agree, it’s so much fun to see what foods were “in” so long ago…

  2. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 7, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    HOW creative!!! Sweet & sour pumpkin. Pinned! love this concept!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:22 am

      Thank you Averie!! :) So glad you like it!

  3. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — November 7, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    This is so fun and different from any pumpkin dish I’ve ever seen. Cannot wait to try this! Btw…love this series!!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:24 am

      It was definitely different! It makes sense–basically an Italian agrodolce, but still never would have thought of it in a million years. Thanks so much Kelli!

  4. #
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes — November 7, 2013 @ 9:57 am

    You choose a fantastic recipe Laura, very unique and you’re right, not a list of ingredients most of us would throw together. And you made it twice, so now I want to make it, of course!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:26 am

      Yep! Had to make it twice–just to test it out and make a couple minor changes. I was the weirdo that walked into the grocery store at 8:00 am in the morning to grab one more small pie pumpkin–and that’s it. Haha!

  5. #
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — November 7, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    I’m always in for more pumpkin, no matter what time of the year it is. I love the taste and I always think it’s just the prettiest at the dinner table. This recipe is beautiful!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:27 am

      It is SUCH a beautiful veggie! I had so much fun taking these pictures–pumpkins love the camera 😉

  6. #
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — November 7, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    This sounds so interesting! I’ve actually never cooked pumpkin. I’m going to have to try this.

    And I love this series. My grandma just gave me a gigantic box full of old Saveur and Bon Apetit magazines. I can’t wait for a rainy day to go through all of them.

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:29 am

      You have to try it! Make sure you choose the pie pumpkins, sometimes called “sugar” pumpkins.

      Thanks so much Natalie! So happy to hear that you’re enjoying the series. And jealous of your Saveur magazines–that is the one magazine I’m missing :) It’s been so much fun, that’s for sure.

  7. #
    ashley - baker by nature — November 7, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

    I am SO intrigued by this gorgeous pumpkin dish! Pretty pics, too 😉

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:29 am

      Thanks lady! :)

  8. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — November 7, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    I was just having a conversation about how everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere, yes, most recipes are still original, but I get inspired by magazines, dinners my Mom used to make me, restaurants, even commercials and more! Love this series for those days when you just don’t feel inspired. That pumpkin looks perfect!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:31 am

      Totally agree! I think most ideas have to come from somewhere–and the more experience you have making all sorts of things, the better! Sometimes it’s just seeing pictures of food that inspire me, not even the dishes themselves.

      Thanks so much Nicole! :)

  9. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — November 7, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

    Super intrigued by this dish! I’m still deep in the pumpkin love phase, so this is going to have to happen soon!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:33 am

      Ooh, so glad to hear that! Thanks Steph! Hope you’re feeling well!

  10. #
    pippa@popovertopippas — November 7, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

    I don’t usually love sweet/sour combos, but this looks good!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:35 am

      I know, I’m not usually either–but the combination has been growing on me! And I trust Mario Batali :)

      • pippa@popovertopippas replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 9:06 am

        As do I, we will have to take you to a Batali restaurant the next time that you come up to NYC!

  11. #
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — November 7, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

    This is intriguing. I would try this, but I gotta know how you peeled that pumpkin. Pinning!

    • Laura replied: — November 8th, 2013 @ 12:37 am

      Thanks so much Norma! Peeling it was a lot easier than it looks. Just take a normal peeler (I use the cheap $5 Kuhn peelers, which are the best out there–actually you can see it in the photo above) and go down the sides. I ended up splitting the pumpkin in half vertically (avoiding the stalk), gutting it and trimming both ends. Hope this helps! :)

  12. #
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens — November 8, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    This sounds amazing! Such a great, really creative combination of flavors! Oh – and I always love your photos, but that pic of the peeled pumpkin is beyond outstanding! 😀

  13. #
    Ellie@Fit for the soul — November 8, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    Sooo beautiful and delicious looking! You’re so talented in the kitchen as well as with your camera. I was like, 0_0 throughout the post. 😀

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 11:24 am

      Thank you SO much Ellie!! Seriously, you have no idea how much that means to me :)


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