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Pumpkin with Shrimp (Camarão na Moranga)



This meal is perfect for fall, but we eat this dish year round in Brazil!

Serves 12


  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, shells saved
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 medium onion, divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 10 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz cream cheese (or Catupiry if available)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the top of the pumpkin and remove all seeds. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place on a large shallow ovenproof pan, cut-off side down. Bake it until soft, about 45 minutes to one hour. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, add the removed shells of shrimp, half and half, ½ the onion, 2 garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the liquid is reduced to half, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Whisk in the flour and set aside.

Finely chop the remaining onion and garlic. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat and cook the onion until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 40 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, close the lid and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and smash the tomatoes with the help of a potato masher; close lid, reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 25 minutes. Constantly stirring, add the white sauce and cook until it thickens. Add the shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink and start to curl. Remove from heat and fold in cilantro. Set aside.

With the help of a spoon, spread the cream cheese into the pumpkin inside wall. Add the shrimp sauce inside the pumpkin and place it back into the oven. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese starts to melt.

Carefully place the whole pumpkin on a serving dish on the table. To serve scoop the shrimp mixture out making sure to bring some chunks of "melted" pumpkin and cream cheese with it. Serve over a bed of jasmine rice.


This dish is typical from Brazil and I grew up eating it. When I was little I thought that the presentation was super cool. Well, I grew up and I still think that the presentation is super cool! Then, I moved to the US and I became familiar with all the fall traditions which include pumpkins in recipes and decoration. So this Brazilian recipe is my small contribution to our American fall! It plays the perfect role: it tastes warm and delicious and it decorates the table. I hope you enjoy this delightful entrée!


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