Pumpkin is a lot more versatile than most folks think. Like my good friend Sarah Frey of Frey Farms says, "don't carve, cook." I fully agree.
This dish is inspired by my Mama’s love of olives and feta cheese and it brings big, bright color to the holiday table. I usually use a jar of our family’s homemade canned tomatoes, but good canned San Marzanos are great also. Fresh marjoram is the most underappreciated and underutilized fresh herb in my opinion; it complements the pumpkin and tomato wonderfully. Feel free to substitute in fresh oregano or thyme. While pumpkins aren't readily available year round, you can use butternut, delicata or acorn squash – thought they will take less time to cook so adjust accordingly.
- 2 lbs. pumpkin, peeled and cut into ½” slices (usually a 3-3½ lb. sugar pumpkin works)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 28 oz. whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 4-5 oz. French feta cheese (or other soft feta)
- 1½ tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Heat a Dutch oven on medium-high for 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and wait until it shimmers, 2 more minutes. Place as many pieces of the pumpkin cut side down in the oil. Cook for 10 minutes, turning with tongs, to caramelize all the sides.
Add the tomatoes, garlic and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cover slightly. Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender with a knife. Break up the tomato pieces with the backside of the wooden spoon. Take off the heat.
Transfer to a large platter. Layer the feta cheese and olives on top. Finish with the marjoram. Add black pepper to taste.