Coming days saw roasted pumpkin with rosemary and garlic; pumpkin soup; sliced and boiled pumpkin tossed through rigatoni with pesto and roasted red capsicum; and a kind of lasagne comprising pasta sheets and thinly sliced pumpkin bound by a bechamel-like sauce containing crushed walnuts and blue cheese. Incredible.
More days passed. The pumpkin was shrinking. The risotto finished it off. I peeled, cubed and roasted the last quarter of the golden gourd with olive oil and a shower of basil, and then folded it through a three-quarters-cooked pot of risotto. The rice had been progressively introduced in the large pot to olive oil to coat, white wine to flavour, chicken stock to absorb, butter to oleaginate, salt and pepper to season, and parmesan to finish it off. The last of the pumpkin, well-roasted and semi-caramelised, kind of broke up and disappeared, infusing the dish with its sunset-coloured, sweet-tasting goodness.
It was like farewelling an old friend.