Tuesday, February 17, 2009


While we were in the states I thought I'd make:

Pumpkin Quiche

500 gr (about 1 lb) pumpkin, roughly cubed
200 gr (2-3) sausage, chopped
3 eggs
1 small yellow onion
Handful of pinenuts
Parmigiano, grated
Savory pastry sheet (such as for a quiche)

In a small frying pan, cook the chopped sausage til almost done. Take off heat.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Place the savory pastry dough in a 9” pie pan.

Chop the onion and sauté with 1 Tbsp. of oil . While the onion is cooking, roughly cube the pumpkin. When the onion starts to turn translucent, add the pumpkin chunks. Cook about 10-15, until the pumpkin will break down easily with spoon but is not mushy. Mix in sausage until evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a splash of milk until frothy. Grate in a small amount of parmigiano and mix, adding fresh ground pepper.Spoon half of the pumpkin mix into the baking pan. Pour egg mix over, and then spoon the rest of the pumpkin mix in. Sprinkle a handful of parmigiano and some pine nuts on top, and bake for about 40 minutes

This recipe is a winter staple in our house, and although I can still buy pumpkin at the grocery I usually have some in the freezer. It's easier to buy a few whole pumpkins, roast them then freeze for later use. I used some of the pumpkin for pies at Thanksgiving and the rest will be used either for this quiche or for pumpkin soup.

Of course I didn't have any pumpkin in the freezer in Louisville, so I headed out to Paul's, the local fruit and vegetable market. I was surprised when they told me they didn't have any pumpkins because the season was over. I know they use a lot of local produce but still figured they'd have pumpkin. I guess for most Americans once Thanksgiving is over they don't think about pumpkins anymore.

My next stop was Whole Foods. I knew they'd have suppliers from all over the country and was sure they'd have some fresh pumpkin. Wrong! Obviously I wasn't going to find fresh pumpkin at my local Kroger, so I just gave up the idea of making the quiche. Imagaine my surprise when I walked into the Super WalMart one day and saw an entire display of fresh pumpkins! I'm not really sure why they had them, but at least next time I'll know where to look!

I'd seen several recipes for risotto with pumpkin and had printed them out. I had this recipe:

Pumpkin and Sage Risotto

1-1/2 cups of rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
2 cups of fresh pumpkin cubed (or butternut squash)
6 tbsp butter
6 cups of chicken broth
1+ cups of water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup of dry white wine
3 tbsp of fresh chopped sage
1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Heat chicken broth in pot and keep warm.

In a separate pot, melt 4 tbsp of butter and sauté chopped onion and garlic
When the onions are translucent and tender, add the rice stirring until coated with the butter, about 3 minutes.

Add white wine and stir until absorbed by the rice. Stir in 2 cups of broth and pumpkin. Continue stirring until liquid is absorbed.

Add an additional cup of broth and chopped sage. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time as liquid is absorbed and continues to cook. Prior to adding last cup of broth, test pumpkin and rice for doneness: Pumpkin should be tender and rice should be chewy not crunchy.

Add remaining cup of broth, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and 2 remaining tbsp of butter stir until absorbed but still moist.

Serve with remaining parmesan cheese

For the two of us that recipe sounded like it would make too much, so I'll save it recipe for when we have company and today I'm going to make this recipe:

Risotto di Zucca Gialla (Rice with Pumpkin)

2 young leeks
extra virgin olive oil
chili pepper flakes
1 lb pumpkin
1 c Risotto rice, arborio, canaroli or vialone nano
3 cups boiling water (or broth)
1 cup water
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Clean the leeks and finely slice. Place in pot with extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and let cook with the leek. Salt to taste and sprinkle with chili flakes.

When the leeks are carmelized and the pumpkin tender, about 10 minutes, add the rice. Stir to mix well and "toast" the rice.

Add 2 cups boiling water (or broth). Salt to taste. Cover and let cook for 14 minutes.

Uncover and stir. The rice should be cooked and the liquid absorbed. Add 1 cup of additional boiling water (or broth) and the grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. This will create the perfect creaminess, without adding cream. Stirring releases the starch in the rice and binds with the liquid and cheese to create the PERFECT NON-STIR RISOTTO!

I don't have leeks so I'll just use a yellow onion instead, and I will use some chicken stock instead of plain water. I think I'll grill a couple of sausages or pork chops to go with this for a perfect winter lunch.

Update: remember the other day when I was going to add some pesto to my Tuscan bean soup? I did add the pesto and although it tasted fine, neither of us thought the soup really needed anything else, so next time I won't bother!

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