I started off my first day in Sao Paulo with a rich and satisfying lunch at my friend's home. Her mom was enthusiastic about sharing her cuisine, and we were able to communicate in a mix of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. As she taught me how to make this dish, I also got my first Portuguese lesson: I seem to pick up food vocabulary quickly in any language. ;-)
The dish is made first by roasting the pumpkin whole for 40 minutes to an hour. The seeds and stringy pulp are then discarded, and the orange flesh is scooped into another bowl and reserved to make the sauce. It is should be soft enough to eat with a spoon at this point, almost like a puree.
Next, some chopped onion is sauteed in a large pan with olive oil, green scallion, parsley, salt and black pepper. Peeled shrimp are then added, and once they are pink, the pumpkin is added to the pan with a tablespoon of cachaça, a Brazilian liquor made from fermented sugar cane, and about a tablespoon of a spice mixture called tempero baiano (there are different recipes, but this one included turmeric, cumin, red pepper and coriander seed).
The mixture is cooked on low for a few minutes, and then some coconut milk is poured in. After a few more minutes of simmering, the dish is finished off with a generous dousing of double cream.
Serve in the pumpkin shell with Brazilian-style rice (sauteed with onion and salt).