Orange crush (+recipes)

By Amanda Laird

1 comment
Roasted pumpkin risotto, with mascarpone and rosemary. Photo / Babiche Martens
Roasted pumpkin risotto, with mascarpone and rosemary. Photo / Babiche Martens

Even though pumpkins are available all year round, they are seen as a winter vegetable by most. Soft and sweet, a bowl of pumpkin soup or pieces of caramelised roast pumpkin are common ways to enjoy this orange vegetable, but that's only the beginning.

Pumpkin can be baked, boiled or pureed, and added as a filling to ravioli, frittata and scones. And because a whole pumpkin with the stalk still attached can keep for months in the bottom of the pantry, it is a very useful vegetable to have hanging around.

Although we are not as keen on the sweet pie idea as Americans, my recipe for baked cheesecake is worth a try. Adding the mashed pumpkin gives it a delicious hearty sweetness, while the crunchy toffee pecans on top are a bit of a delight.

Risotto with pumpkin tastes wonderful with garlic, wine and rosemary - bacon could also be cooked in the pan at the beginning of the recipe, a common flavour pairing to enjoy.

Grating pumpkin and mixing with flavours to make small koftas is also a great way to enjoy the vegetable. I've included a very simple recipe where you throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix then shape and pan fry. Grab a packet of roti from the local Indian store on your way home, along with some yoghurt and a bunch of coriander and you will have a tasty supper in a few moments.

Chef's Tips

Butternut pumpkin skin is edible and very delicious when roasted - I love all pumpkin skin but butternut is drier and sweeter. I know some won't agree but do give it a go, it's full of vitamin A, potassium and calcium.

- NZ Herald

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