For 11 months of the year, the pumpkin is an unloved and largely ignored vegetable, but come October it is the star attraction in many Halloween-inspired recipes. This week, we bring you three dishes, and the main ingredient is pumpkin.
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Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pumpkin and Porcini Mushroom Risotto
- 225g (8oz) Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra, to serve
- 40g (1 ½ oz) dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 tsp vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 300g (10oz) Arborio or Carnaroli rice (risotto rice)
- 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
- 300g (10oz) pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks
- 150ml (¼ pt) Italian dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and set to one side.
Put the dried mushrooms into a heatproof bowl. Mix the stock powder or cube with 850ml (1 ½ pints) boiling water, then pour over the mushrooms and leave them to soak for about 30 minutes.
When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or large saucepan. Add the rice and sauté it gently over a medium heat for about one or two minutes, until it looks translucent, though not browned. Add the spring onions and pumpkin or butternut squash and cook gently, stirring often, for another two or three minutes.
Pour in the wine and let it bubble up for a few moments, and then add the soaked mushrooms and about two ladles of stock. Cook gently for about 20-25 minutes, adding more stock as needed, until the rice is tender and creamy.
Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and season to taste. Add shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, or freshly grate some more onto each portion, then serve.
Cook’s tip: The secret of great risotto is to start off with good quality Italian risotto rice, so that it absorbs the flavours, yet still keeps its shape.
Recipe credit: Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano
Mini quiches with pumpkin flowers and Parma Ham
1 roll of puff pastry
- 70 g Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 3 eggs
- 125 g ricotta cheese
- 2 dark courgettes
- 6-8 pumpkin flowers
- 50 g Parma Ham
- 50 g onion, chopped
- 3-4 spoons milk
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- salt, pepper
- 30 g olive oil
- To decorate:
- 50 g Parma Ham slices
- 3 pumpkin flowers
Trim the courgettes, cut them in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh and dice only the skin. Sweat the onion in oil with the Parma Ham in julienne strips, add the courgettes and the salt and cook them without making them too mushy. Season with salt, if necessary, and pepper. Divide the pumpkin flowers into julienne strips after removing the pistils.
Beat the ricotta, add the eggs, milk, cheese, parsley, courgettes with the cooking juices and the pumpkin flowers.
Line the greased and floured moulds with the puff pastry, prick the bottom with a fork and pour in the filling. Bake in the oven at 175°C for 30 minutes. Remove the mini quiches from the oven and decorate them with the julienne strips of pumpkin flowers and the Parma Ham slices.
Recipe credit: Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma
Parmigiano Reggiano and Pumpkin Soup
- 150g (6oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, with rind
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
- 900ml (1 ½ pt) hot vegetable stock
- 150ml (¼ pt) milk
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 4-6 slices French bread
- Fresh parsley or thyme, chopped to garnish
Reserve the rind from the Parmigiano Reggiano and cut it into chunks, then finely grate.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onion until softened.
Add the pumpkin, vegetable stock and Parmigiano Reggiano rind and cook gently for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the rind from the saucepan, transferring the soup to a blender and add the grated cheese, reserving 25g (1oz) for garnishing. Blend the soup, until smooth. Return it to the saucepan and add the milk. Stir thoroughly and reheat until piping hot.
Toast the slices of French bread, sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano on top and grill until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with one piece of French toast.
To serve, sprinkle with fresh parsley or thyme and season with black pepper.
Recipe credit: Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano.