Pumpkins – beyond Halloween

As soon as Halloween is over the price of pumpkins comes right down.  Once cut squash do not keep, so cook it all and then used the leftovers in one of the following dishes. Pumpkins, and other squashes, make a wonderful soup.  The amount of liquid required will vary depending on the type of squash used – Crown Prince, for example, has a great strength of flavour but is quite dry in texture.  At its most simple, you could just purée leftover roast squash and thin it down with stock or even water.  Pumpkin is however at the more watery end of the squash spectrum, especially the larger ones, so the following recipe includes a little flour.

Pumpkin Soup

1½ lb chopped pumpkin flesh

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

2 oz butter

1½ pints homemade chicken stock

½ pint single cream

1 level tbsp flour

salt and pepper

nutmeg

Lightly fry the onion and pumpkin in the butter for about 5 minutes until it is soft but not coloured. Stir in the flour, cook for a minute, and then add the hot chicken stock. Simmer gently for 40 minutes.

Now purée the soup in an electric blender or food processor and pass it through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Re-heat the soup but do not boil it. Add the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.  Pumpkin seeds, dry roasted, then browned in butter, make the perfect topping.

Pumpkin Ravioli

400g fresh pasta

filling:

250g roasted pumpkin purée (Crown Prince for preference, or try a mixture of butternut squash and sweet potato)

50g freshly grated parmesan cheese

50g ground almonds

2 tablespoons finely chopped Mostarda

freshly grated nutmeg to taste

to serve:

Melted butter and sage or rosemary

Scattering of chopped walnuts

Roast slices of pumpkin until soft and then purée.  Mix with the remaining filling ingredients.

Roll the pasta into thin sheets.  Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture at intervals along the dough, leaving a finger’s width between each.  Use your finger to lightly wet around each mound of filling then lay a second sheet of pasta on top.  Seal the pasta using the cupped side of your hand and ensuring that no air is trapped inside the parcel.  Cut around to form individual ravioli.  Press the edges again firmly to seal.

Cook half a dozen ravioli at a time in rapidly boiling salted water.  As soon as they rise to the surface remove from the water with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a dish containing butter, which has been melted with chopped sage or rosemary.

Grate a little more nutmeg over before serving and scatter with chopped walnuts.

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