Shrimp in a Pumpkin

Shrimp in a Pumpkin

Meal type Entrée
By author Isabela Bessa pelto


  • 1 Medium pumpkin (or other similar vegetable, like squash)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 ½lb raw medium shrimp, (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 juice lime
  • 3 tomatoes chopped (or 1 cup of tomato sauce)
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • ½ cup coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • 2 cups Catupiry cheese*
  • 3 tablespoons ground annatto (also called achiote—optional)
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese


Preheat oven to 350F. Wash the pumpkin, cut the top off as lid shape and remove all the seeds. Dry and scrub some salt on the inside of the pumpkin. Wrap the pumpkin with aluminum foil, place in a baking sheet and bake until is soft (about 90 minutes).
Season the shrimp with the lime juice, salt and pepper - if using frozen shrimp, allow them to thaw completely and rinse before seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the garlic and onions with the annatto. Add the tomatoes and , the bell peppers and cook until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the shrimp and coconut milk, and adjust salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, partially covered until shrimp is done. Scrape some of the pumpkin and add it to the sauce as a thickener and to incorporate flavor. Turn off the heat and mix in ½ cup of Catupiry Cheese and cilantro.
Using a spoon, spread a layer of Catupiry Cheese on the inside of the pumpkin and pour in the shrimp sauce. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and put the filled pumpkin back to the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with rice. Make sure to scoop the pumpkin, the creamy cheese, and the shrimp sauce when you serve. If the pumpkin isn’t big enough, use the leftover sauce to refill the pumpkin as your guests are eating it.

* You can find Catupiry Cheese in some Brazilian markets. If not, substitute for a mix of 1 cup of cream cheese and 1 cup of brie.
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