’tis the season.
No, not Chrimbo (though that’ll be here soon enough) I’m talking about the abundance of pumpkins and squashes around us (the edible sorts, not the carving and sticking in the window varieties). So I thought it a good time to share this favourite recipe for getting the best out of them.
It’s very simple and relies on roasting them first to give them some great colour (and therefore flavour), followed by simmering them with a Parmesan rind for its deeply savoury flavour. We tend to use Parmesan around these parts as a seasoning more than we do as a cheese, and instead of chucking away the rinds, they become fridge gold. Stowed away in a zip loc bag and they bring their incomparable umami flavour to soups, stews and sauces. Probably the best and cheapest flavour enhancer you can lay your mitts on.
- 500g Butternut squash
- 500g Pumpkin flesh/mixed squash flesh
- 1 medium Red onion, peeled and quartered
- 600ml Chicken/veg stock
- 1 Parmesan rinds
- 50g Butter
- Pine nuts, dry toasted
- 100ml Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- A handful fresh sage sprigs and butter for frying
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (fan) and lightly oil the pumpkin and squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, turning occasionally so they start to colour up on all sides. 15 minutes in to cooking add the onion to the squash to cook together.
- Transfer to a saucepan and add the stock and Parmesan rind and bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 45 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
- Remove the Parmesan rind and add the butter, and using a stick blender blend the soup until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until needed.
- In a small pan on the lowest heat setting you have, place the extra virgin olive oil and toasted pine nuts and let them sit for 20 minutes for their flavours to infuse.
- When you’re ready to eat, reheat the soup with the lid on on a low heat. In a frying pan heat some butter until it’s foaming and fry the sage leaves on a high heat until crispy – it takes less than 30 seconds, then turn out on to some kitchen paper and season with salt, which helps them stay crispy too.
- Serve the soup with a tablespoon of the pine nut oil and the crispy sage leaves.