The time for roasting pumpkin is here
Autumn has started to be weasel its way into my consciousness: suddenly the leaves on the trees are looking slightly brown and the mornings are getting chilly. In Southern France, it still gets hot during the day, so my boys are trying to be all macho about the cold mornings at the moment and are refusing to go to school in anything more than a t-shirt and shorts. They for sure have some Kiwi in them. I would never have guessed that pretending it’s still Summer was a genetic thing! There are a few nice things about Autumn, such as pumpkins coming into season. It’s a great time to make zucca di Arianna, which consists of pumpkin roasted in the oven with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. I’m starting to drool just writing about it! It has to be my favourite way of eating one of my favourite vegetables.
The source of fabulous recipes
Arianna is a very good friend of mine from the beautiful city of Mantova. I’ve already written about cellentani with speck and zucchini, which is a delicious pasta recipe that comes from her mother-in-law. Arianna taught me how to make many Italian specialities when we were both living in California, and I’m happy to be able to share the way she prepares pumpkin with all of you! I’ve baptized this dish Zucca di Arianna as I haven’t eaten pumpkin like this anywhere else. I’ve Roasted pumpkin with Parmesan would make a perfect Thanksgiving side! An American friend and I prepare a Thanksgiving meal every year for a big group, and now I know what we’ll make this time around.
Travel photo of the week
The photo below, taken at Garda Lake, near Mantova in Italy, shows Arianna: the mastermind behind this recipe and a bedraggled looking me in the background. What you don’t see is just beyond the photo frame is that there were also four screaming children (ours…) throwing rocks in the water and at each other. It’s amazing that we look so calm.
Last notes on making the pumpkin
Butternut squash is a great one to use for this recipe. It’s not very easy to find tasty pumpkins where I live now. I do miss the ones they grow in New Zealand and in the United States where eating pumpkin is more usual. This roasted pumpkin recipe is really one of those recipes that you add “some” of this ingredient, and “a little” of that ingredient. Let me just write for you how I usually make it: chop up some pumpkin. Add a handful of breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and some grated Parmesan cheese (until you run out of grating power). Pour some olive oil over it. Mix it all up, then roast it in the oven for a while until it’s crunchy. For those of you who need measurements, it’s all done for you below.
By Lisa Watson
Roasted Pumpkin with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese
- 600 g Pumpkin or squash 1lb ,12oz
- 50 g Breadcrumbs 1/2 cup
- 30 g Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup
- 1 tsp Salt
- 80 ml Olive oil 1/2 cup
- Pepper to taste
- Chop the pumpkin into cubes about the size of a dice and place in a bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients and mix until the cubes become evenly coated.
- Tip into an oven-proof dish in a single layer and bake at 180ºC (350ºF) for 40 – 50 minutes until the coating looks brown and crispy.