Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

30.11.10

What to do with a pumpkin.

Peel it and chop it up. This is easier said than done. Pumpkin's dense texture means a good knife and a steady hand are essential. One slip and you'll lose a finger. The following recipe means the peril is worth risking.

Pumpkin with spinach, corn and fresh basil.

I am fond of the vegetable known in some parts of the world as being food fit only for pigs. (Only? The pig is one of the noblest creatures, if your moral universe extends to an animal pecking order. Orwell was right, but he got the order wrong. Squealer should have been a snake.) I like pumpkin’s sweet, mellow flavour when it is baked or sautéed, especially when eaten with contrasting flavours or textures. I’m not so fond of it when mashed together with potato, a common childhood side ('golden potato') and one which, it seemed to me, masked the assets of both vegetables.

Having arduously made small cubes of a one-kilogram pumpkin, don't put away the knife. First, chop two onions and then cut six slices of prosciutto into postage stamps. Crisp these in a large pan, add the onions and the pumpkin, give it a good stir, and lid the pan. Depending on how much fat the prosciutto has rendered, add a little peanut oil. Sauté on a low heat for fifteen minutes, stirring often, until the pumpkin is barely soft. It will soften further in due course.

Now add a chopped bunch of spinach or one of those 250g freezer packs of frozen spinach blocks, thawed. At the same time, add a drained can of corn. Or equivalent volume frozen corn. Or fresh, depending where you are in the world and what’s available. Stir and put the lid back on the pan and cook gently until corn is hot and spinach wilted. Mere minutes. Season to your liking.

Serve piled high in bowls as a main sprinkled with torn basil for extra aroma and taste. Serve with small bowls on the side, one containing tahini to drizzle; the other with warm, freshly toasted pine nuts or macadamias to toss over. Or both, for a crunchy, nutty treat. Finish it off with a squeeze of lemon. You'll never eat golden potato again.

2 comments:

Food TV Recipe said...

I was going to write a similar blog concerning this topic, you beat me to it. You did a nice job! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Hey neighbour
Thanks for this delightful sounding dish that I could easily make vegetarian. Have just been to La Latteria and still swooning over their range - you must go if you haven't.
Cheers
The seal