by Anna Lucca
Hi everyone, I’m Anna and today I would like to share a simple, easy and tasty recipe based on perhaps the most iconic autumn food: the pumpkin!
Pumpkin puree was my grandmother’s signature recipe, so it holds a special place in my heart: memories of misty days, fog, stoves cluttered with mumbling pots and pans, and above all the intense yellow of the pulp crushed in the pan with the rich scent of sizzling butter. It’s been a personal favorite ever since!
A feast for the eyes and the palate, pumpkin can also be used as an alternative to traditional mashed potatoes: try it paired with roast pork, or as a side to a simple grilled pork chop. Children of all ages will go crazy! Even better, the pumpkin has few calories, soothes the intestine and is rich in vitamin A -as if we need another excuse to dig in.
Just as every person’s head has slight differences, no two pumpkins are the same. Some, like the Neapolitan variety, are very fibrous and have a fine, powdery pulp. The most suitable type for this recipe is the “delicate pumpkin,” easily recognizable at any market with its distinctive green skin. Don’t be put off by the size: pumpkins have little yield. A clean 2 kg pumpkin will provide enough for 4 large portions.
- a pumpkin of about 2kg
- 2 small onions
- 80 g of butter
- 60g of grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper at taste
Slice the pumpkin, removing the seeds and the fibrous part (you can scrape off a little pulp if needed to make the process easier). This is not as simple as it sounds: pumpkins are quite tough, and often stubbornly refuse to cooperate. If you run into difficulties, try hitting the dull side of the knife with a meat tenderizer while it’s sunk into the rind; you will certainly find it easier. Slices should be approximately the same size as in the image shown above.
Place the pumpkin slices in a microwave-safe container and cover it for steaming. Alternatively, you can use a large bowl with a dash of water and a shallow dish to use as a lid, and cook them in the microwave for 15-20 minutes at 750 watts. You will most likely need to separate the slices into halves and cook one half at a time.
While the pumpkin is softening, it will cook on its own; use this time to slice the onions and sautee them in butter. Take care not to let them brown too much, and don’t forget to add salt!
When the onions are finished, remove them from the heat and turn your attention back to the pumpkin. You know the slices are cooked to perfection when it’s easy to remove the rind-just be careful not to burn yourself.
While the pulp is still warm, mash it with a fork until it is reduced to a puree. Put the onions back over a low flame and stir in the purée. If it is too dense, add a little water to help it mix. Add salt and pepper to taste and top it off with the cheese. Finally, allow it to sit for a few minutes. As it sets, take a moment to appreciate the rich, thick scent wafting through your kitchen just as it used to in my grandmother’s, and let this delicious memory whet your appetite.