Pumpkin Risotto With Watercress Pesto
This is a nutritious and filling midweek dinner. To make it vegan, just swap the parmesan for vegetarian cheese. If there’s leftover pesto, store it in a jar for up to a week in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 180˚C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and chop into 2cm cubes. Place half of the pumpkin onto an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before placing into the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft in the middle and starting to colour on the outside.
Put the remaining pumpkin into a medium sized saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil, simmering for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and cooked through. Drain and blend in a food processor until smooth.
Make the pesto by blending together the parmesan, pine nuts and watercress before slowly adding the olive oil and seasoning to taste.
Take a large frying pan or wok and place on a medium heat. Add a drizzle olive oil and throw in the diced shallots and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Fry gently for a few minutes, being careful not to allow the shallots to colour or burn. Add in the risotto rice and continue to fry for a further few minutes before adding in the white wine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir the rice and shallot mixture until almost all the wine has been absorbed.
Use a ladle or small jug to pour one quarter of the vegetable stock into the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently. Repeat until all the liquid has been used up, which should take around 20 minutes. Check that the rice is cooked through and add a splash more water if necessary.
Stir in the watercress, pumpkin purée, diced roast pumpkin and cold butter, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into four bowls, scatter over the pumpkin seeds and drizzle generously with the watercress pesto.
Maple Pumpkin Pie With Streusel Pecans
Think of this as an autumn classic with added flair. The streusel element is truly delicious and brings plenty of crunch to the mix, contrasting with the smoothness of the pumpkin. This pie is perfect for topping off a long, lazy lunch on a cold, crisp autumn afternoon.
Heat the oven to 180°C Fan/Gas Mark 4 and line a 20cm loose-based flan tin with baking parchment.
Begin by making the crust. Tip the ginger biscuits into a food processor and process to a crumb before transferring to a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan – don’t be afraid to keep cooking until the butter browns slightly, this only adds to the overall taste. Pour the butter over the crumbs and mix well.
Press the buttery biscuit mix into the lined tin and, using a spatula, push the mixture about 2cm up the sides to form a rim. Chill the crust in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to harden up.
Place the tin on a baking sheet (this makes for a more even bake) and transfer to the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, for the filling, bring a small pan of water to the boil and add the pumpkin. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the flesh is tender and cuts like butter. Drain well, allowing the pumpkin to steam dry for a few minutes before puréeing until smooth. Mix the purée with the spices, maple syrup, cream and egg yolks. Pour into the crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until just set with a slight wobble. Remember, the filling will have a second bake once topped with the streusel.
To make the streusel put the butter, flour and sugar in a mixing bowl and rub together using your hands until the mix has come together. Stir through the pecans and cinnamon.
Remove the pie from the oven and top with the streusel mix. Return to the oven to cook the pie for a further 15 minutes. Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving in slices with a scoop of ice-cream.
Pumpkin Wonton Tortellini & Porcini Soup
For this recipe, you don’t have to make the pasta. Use wonton wrappers instead, which are pre-made into perfect little rounds – they’re cheap if you buy them from Asian stores and you can keep them in the freezer.
Heat the oven to 200°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Roughly slice the pumpkin, removing the seeds, but keeping the skin on. Place on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme and season. Place in the oven and roast for about 30-40 minutes till soft and starting to caramelise.
Take out the oven and scrape the soft insides into a bowl, discard the skins. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, season and mash together, taste. Arrange the wonton wrappers in front of you and spoon a teaspoon amount onto the wrapper (then place a cube of the smoked ricotta on top if using). Fold into tortellini (this make take a couple of goes). Dust a tray with semolina and leave the tortellini on top while you make the broth. They will keep in the fridge covered for a good day or so.
To make the broth heat a little oil in a pan and add the spring onions, the stock, sherry and porcini mushrooms and simmer for about 15 minutes, season and add a squeeze of honey.
To make the sage leaves, simply heat a little oil in a pan and add them for about 20 seconds, remove and drain on kitchen paper.
When ready to serve, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and drop in your wontons, simmer for about 3-4 minutes and remove and distribute between the bowls. Spoon the broth over the top and finish with the crispy sage leaves.
Rustic Pumpkin Gnocchi with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
This is a great hands-on recipe that uses the pumpkin flesh, seeds and all. If you tend to buy different pumpkins for decorations and scatter them around the house during the colder winter months, this is a great way of using them up.
Heat the oven to 180˚C Fan/Gas Mark 4 and cook the pumpkin whole for 1 hour. While the pumpkin is cooking, peel and wash the potatoes and boil them until soft.
To make the pesto, slowly blend the ingredients (excluding for the grated macadamia nuts and fresh basil) in a pestle and mortar or blender. You want a pesto that still has texture.
Once your potatoes have cooked, drain and leave to cool. Once the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool as well. When both are cool enough to the touch, open the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the flesh and pick out the seeds. Once you have enough flesh, set aside.
Put the drained potatoes on a work surface and start mashing with the back of a fork, then add to the pumpkin puree and mix well. Once the potato and pumpkin are incorporated, add the flour little by little and start working the dough. Work the flour in for 5-10 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and forms easily. You should now have a soft dough that holds together, doesn’t feel sticky and can be easily shaped. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Once rested, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll one piece at a time into long cylinders on a lightly floured surface, again working lightly and quickly. Keep the surface well-floured so the gnocchi doesn’t stick. Cut the dough into thumbnail lengths.
Bring a large, deep pot of salted water to the boil. Working with a few at a time (don't cook more than you can manage), drop in the gnocchi. Cook for 2 minutes until they pop up to the surface, then scoop them out with a spoon and put them straight into a hot pan with olive oil.
Add some of the pesto and a little bit of pasta water and serve immediately with the sprigs of fresh basil and grated macadamia nuts.
Maple-Glazed Roast Pumpkin
This healthy snack takes some time to cook, but the preparation couldn’t be easier. You can also scatter it over ready-to-roll pastry for a quick starter or lunch.
Heat the oven to 200˚C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Halve the pumpkin and cut into wedges and large chunks.
In a bowl, drizzle over the olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and evenly coat the pumpkin.
On a large baking tray, spread the pumpkin and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 40-60 minutes until soft and turning golden brown on the edges.
On a separate baking tray, roast the pumpkin seeds gently at 180˚C Fan/Gas Mark 4 for 6-8 minutes, then leave to cool. Scatter the seeds over the roasted pumpkin and serve.
Thai Chicken, Pumpkin And Tenderstem Broccoli Curry
This Thai curry cooks like a dream thanks to the combination of pumpkin and chicken. Straightforward to memorise and great for using up a selection of veggies, it’s a mild to medium-strength curry – suitable for the whole family.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan then gently sauté the onion, ginger and garlic for about 5 minutes until it has softened. Stir in the curry paste and chicken, and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the butternut squash, then add the fish sauce, coconut milk and 200ml of water. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
Add the Tenderstem broccoli, baby corn and spring onions to the curry and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Finish off by stirring in the lime juice and coriander. Serve with Thai rice.
Delica Pumpkin With Makhani Sauce & Hazelnut Crumble
This is a popular dish. Delica pumpkins are quite small and have a much sweeter flesh than a regular pumpkin. You can buy them from any good grocer in season – if they are not available, just use another variety or butternut squash.
Heat the oven to 160°C Fan/Gas Mark 3. Halve the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, slice the flesh into 8 wedges and trim the ends. Put the pumpkin slices in a roasting pan and coat with the oil, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Roast for around 30 minutes. You want the pumpkin to be only just cooked.
While the pumpkin is roasting, make the puffed rice. Heat a little oil (about 2cm in depth) in a heavy-based saucepan until very hot. Add the wild rice and stir for a few minutes until it puffs up, then drain on kitchen paper.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the whole spices and allow to infuse in the oil for 30 seconds or so before adding the ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder and green chillies. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat down to medium low, add the tomatoes, then cover and cook for about 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced by one third and the oil has separated from the tomatoes. Remove the whole spices, then add the cream, butter, garam masala and fenugreek leaves. Season to taste with sugar and salt and leave to one side.
To make the hazelnut crumble, toast the nuts and sesame seeds with the chilli powder for a few minutes until golden in a dry frying pan. Cool, then roughly pulse to a fine powder in a food processor with the chaat masala.
Heat up the makhana sauce and spoon into 4 plates or bowls. Grill the pumpkin for a few minutes on each side, until the slices get a little colour – this will add a smoky element to the dish. To serve, arrange 2 wedges of pumpkin on top of the sauce, and top with the crumbled paneer, hazelnut crumble, puffed wild rice and garnish with coriander.
Pumpkin & Raisin Loaf
This tasty loaf is delicious fresh out of the oven, spread with lots of salted butter or orange curd. If there’s any left over, freeze it in slices so you can pop it in the toaster for an afternoon snack.
Heat the oven to 180˚C Fan/Gas Mark 4 and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
Use an electric whisk to beat the sugar and egg yolks together for 2-3 minutes until pale and creamy. Gently stir in the grated pumpkin, lemon zest and juice, raisins and almonds.
Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl, then gently fold in the batter. Try not to stir it so you keep plenty of air in the cake which makes it light and fluffy.
Beat the egg whites until they can hold soft mountain peaks. Then, beat a heaped tbsp of egg white into the cake batter to loosen it a little, before folding in the rest as lightly as you can.
Tip into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake for about 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.