Pumpkin

El Alma executive chef Alma Alcocer graced the pages of People magazine earlier this month with a recipe for her pumpkin and spinach tostadas, a dish that occasionally appears as a special at her Austin restaurant.

1 (1 1/2- to 2-lb.) pumpkin

1 tsp. chili powder

3 tablespoons thinly sliced pickled jalapenos

3 tablespoons pickled jalapeno liquid from jar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Fine sea salt

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup packed fresh baby spinach

6 tostada shells

1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco

1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

Fresh tomato salsa (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut stem from top of pumpkin; cut pumpkin in half. Scoop out seeds and discard. Sprinkle flesh with chili powder, and place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Bake until very tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.

Whisk together jalapenos, jalapeno liquid, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add cabbage; toss to coat.

Cut pumpkin halves into quarters, and cut away skin. Cut flesh into 1-inch cubes. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, and cook until heated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in spinach and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Divide pumpkin mixture evenly among shells; top each with cabbage mixture, queso fresco and pepitas. Serve with salsa, if desired.

– From El Alma executive chef Alma Alcocer

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