The humble pumpkin is one of the most versatile vegetables, from the Andalusian dish alboronia, which matches the full-flavoured orange flesh with roast quince and eggplant, to the age-old pumpkin soup. (I prefer mine spiced up Thai-style.)
I always buy far more pumpkin than I need, with the excitement of so many different dishes to make. Luckily it lasts uncut for weeks in a cool place. It is excellent in sweet dishes, such as pumpkin pie from the southern states of the US.
Roast pumpkin and shallots become a delicious light lunch once you add them to pre-made puff pastry, topped with funky washed-rind cheese. I'll have mine with a cheeky albarino. Cheers!
PUMPKIN AND WASHED-RIND CHEESE TART
|350g pumpkin flesh, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunky 1cm-thick slices|
|175g small shallots, peeled and cut into quarters|
|2 tbsp olive oil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|a few rosemary and/or thyme sprigs|
|150g large, firm mushrooms, thickly sliced|
|1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry|
|100g washed-rind cheese (try taleggio)|
1. Heat the oven to 190C.
2. Put the pumpkin and eschallots on a large, flat baking tray. Pour over the oil, season and scatter with the herbs. Roast for 30 minutes, stir in the mushrooms and cook for 20 minutes more, until everything is cooked and starting to caramelise. Don’t let it colour too much, because it is cooked more later on.
3. Turn up the oven to 200C. Tip the vegetables into a dish. Lay the pastry sheet on the baking tray and score a border 2 centimetres in around the edges; don’t cut right through.
4. Spread the vegetables over the pastry, leaving the border clear. Slice the cheese thickly and arrange on top. Add more herbs and seasoning, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
5. Serve with a salad of bitter or peppery leaves to balance the sweet pumpkin and shallots.
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