(a taste for) Pumpkin

>> Poor pumpkin. Many people tend to take it for granted this time of year, knowing pumpkin tortes will grace dessert menus and pumpkin pie will accompany Thanksgiving feasts. But the resilient autumn staple gets a lead role on several entree and drink menus this fall.
Linus’ Revenge Pumpkin Ale
The Cornerstone Brewing Co., 58 Front St., Berea, (440) 239-9820
In Cornerstone Brewing’s light, no-frills ale, pumpkin teams up with the usual flavor suspects — cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg — plus one more. Brown-sugar-baked pumpkin is mashed with barley at the start of the brewing process for a completely infused flavor. And hurry over. “It’s one of our fastest-selling beers,” says general manager Erik Rothschiller. He predicts a sellout before Thanksgiving.

Hazelnut-crusted scallops with local pumpkin purée
Fire Food & Drink, 13222 Shaker Square, Cleveland, (216) 921-3473
Salty, meet sweet. Throw in extra hazelnut flavor and you’ve got a heavenly pairing thanks to flavor matchmaker chef Doug Katz. Here, seared scallops blend with a roasted pumpkin purée flavored with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and cream. “The textures go really well togther,” Katz says.

Pumpkin baked ziti
Bar Cento, 1928 W. 25th St., Cleveland, (216) 344-9944
When chef Jonathon Sawyer took his pumpkin baked ziti off the menu last February, a collective sigh rang out from the foodie community. But the classic Italian combination of fresh ricotta, chestnuts, sage brown butter and pancetta baked with diced pumpkin is back in its salty-sweet glory. “Pumpkin has a beautiful taste and flavor,” Sawyer says, adding there is no masking the nutty flavor. “The pumpkin tastes like pumpkin.”

Park farms roast chicken with pepitas and pumpkin hash
Crop Bistro, 1400 W. Sixth St., Cleveland, (216) 696-2767
A pumpkin is a terrible thing to waste, which is why Crop uses every morsel in its pumpkin hash made from roasted white pumpkins, diced and caramelized twice. “We’re using the whole pumpkin except the skin,” says chef Steve Schimoler. The hash is sautéed with onions and fennel and seasoned with sage and thyme. Even the chicken is pan-roasted in the pumpkin remainder to soak up the flavor. Both are topped with an adobo sauce and pepitas roasted in butter and a chipotle seasoning.
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