This is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to prepare roast pumpkin ever! The pumpkin is cut into slices and then oven roasted before being given a final blast in a super hot oven to intensify its sweetness. Then it is then topped with double dose of nuts, seeds and herbs to give it extra crunch and flavour!
Many years ago my mother in law Tuulikki taught me a great tip for cooking pumpkin. You simply roast the whole pumpkin (after stabbing it a couple of times so that it doesn't explode although it has never exploded when I've forgotten to stab it) and you don't have to deal with cutting pumpkin, something I always find slightly risky. May I offer you another tip? Get someone else to segment your pumpkin for this recipe - I outsourced the task to Mr NQN ;)
I based this recipe on a dish from Pazar in Canterbury although theirs is with chimichurri, almonds and feta. My version is one that is vegan friendly although it is easily just vegetarian too. Feel free to add crumbled feta or blue cheese to the finished pumpkin too. With the pumpkin so sweet and burnished from its time in the oven, saltiness never goes astray with this dish. The pesto is just a matter of blending some ingredients which takes all of a few minutes and I always seem to have a seed and nut mix on hand these days to add to soups and salads so I used what I had.
This dish was my contribution to this year's Mother's Day lunch. The original idea was to have a picnic in Centennial Park but it was rainy and cold that day so we held it at my parents' house. I brought this pumpkin along with some vegan dolmades that I decided to make last minute (regretfully, as they took so long to roll!).
There was a reprieve in that Mr NQN's father, someone who I find very challenging for many reasons, was not there. He is in Thailand at the moment trying to get some followers for his dream cult (men need not apply if you know what I mean!). I had an interesting chat with brother in law Laporello who is married to Amaya, Mr NQN's sister. I mentioned that I was a bit relieved that Roger wasn't there and he laughed and told me that that he understood. Roger lived with he and Amaya for a while and he saw in action his attempts to gain women followers for his dream cult.
Every time Roger would eat a piece of fruit he would take the peels and scraps and walk outside to the communal bin area wearing nothing but his speedos that were several years old and as many sizes too big. This would happen several times a day and he would also run up and down the stair for exercise. They had to put a stop to his Speedo wearing wanderings when they started to get complaints from other residents about kids seeing "junk flapping about". And I guess I was just happy that I never witnessed any of this and had it burnt into my retina! ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your favourite roasted vegetable? And what did you do on Mother's Day? Do you have one member of your family you find particularly challenging and why?
Caramelised Pumpkin Wedges with Seeds, Nuts and Herbs
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/4 hours
- 1 Kent pumpkin, around 2.5kgs
- 6 tablespoons garlic olive oil
- 1/4 cup roasted seeds and nuts (I used a combination of slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds)
- Coriander leaves
Sun dried tomato pesto (you can also buy this as a ready made dip if you don't want to make it)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 75g/2.5 ozs sun dried tomatoes, drained
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup roasted walnuts or pine nuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil (a mild one)
- 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with parchment. Cut the pumpkin into 6 wedges. Bake in a 200C/400F oven for 45 minutes or 1 hour. It shouldn't be super soft by this stage. Then turn the heat up to 240C/464F and add the garlic olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes until you get some nice edges of char on the pumpkin.
Step 2 - While the pumpkin is roasting make the sun dried tomato pesto by placing all ingredients in a blender and pulsing until you get a paste that you can spoon over the pumpkin wedges.
Step 3 - You can also roast the seeds while the pumpkin in roasting for 5-8 minutes or so (do it while it is cooking at 200C/400F and not the higher temperature as they will burn).
Step 4 - When the pumpkin is done, spoon over the pesto and sprinkle with the seeds.