Monday, 30 November 2009

One pumpkin fits all

by Francesca

heirloom pumpkin
Early in October I harvested our one pumpkin. I chronicled the strange case of the heirloom pumpkin in my blog, explaining how we unexpectedly happened to grow it. Since then, I’ve learned from a reader that our large pumpkin is a Heirloom Neck Pumpkin.

This was one of the most effortless crops I’ve ever grown. I transplanted it in early July, watered it, and then just let it grow. It crawled slowly across and out of our garden, and eventually produced its single fruit. My €0.25 transplant produced a heirloom pumpkin which weighed 10.5 kilos, and provided the main ingredient of 4 dishes, which served a total of about 30 people.
halved heirloom pumpkin

Here’s how we used it:

~ Pumpkin soup ~
heirloom pumpkin soup ingredients
With barley, red lentils, cabbage, onion, garlic, dry(ing) peppers, dried sage and rosemary. I made a very large pot of it, enough for two meals for our family: a nice thick vegetable soup is most welcome on cold fall evenings.

~ Skillet-roasted pumpkin ~
roasted pumpkin
With fresh rosemary and garlic.

~ Stuffed pumpkin with sage-infused rice ~
heirloom pumpkin halved
stuffed pumpkin
I first boiled black and brown rice, adding six large sage leaves to the water. Then I mixed in cubed pecorino cheese, and used this mixture to fill the part of the pumpkin where the seeds are, which I’d split in half and scooped out. I set these filled bowls in the oven and baked them.

(I made this dish and the pie below for a dinner with friends: they served 10 people!)

~ Pumpkin pie ~
pumpkin pie
With Marsala sweet wine, pine nuts and raisins.
pumpkin seeds

So a single vegetable that grew from a €0.25 transplant yielded a surprising range of dishes. I even got a tasty snack out of it, because of course I saved the pumpkin seeds, sprinkled them with salt, and popped them into the oven to roast while the rice was baking.

What other wonder vegetables have you come across? Vegetables that are easy to grow, are abundant and can be used in a variety of dishes, savory and sweet?


A Day That is Dessert said...

I suddenly feel starved! I'm impressed at all the uses you found for your pumpkin.

Kavita said...

I was over at Fuoriborgo & have just come to coop, haven't read your post yet.
But I have to say.. this is eerie. I was wondering to myself this morning about what became of the pumpkin. That Francesca didn't write how the soup turned out.

Kavita said...

Marvellous pictures, Francesca. I'd never guess it weighed a healthy 10.5. In the hands of an ingenious cook nobody'd know it was the same guy in another guise each time haha. Brava!

Under$1000PerMonth said...

I've never seen a pumpkin pie with raisins. That looks so good.

nicola@which name? said...

francesca, beautiful photos and lovely use of your pumpkin. i couldn't agree more....pumpkin is one of the most versatile garden products. (tomatoes rank up there, too!) we got similar use out of our pumpkin right around halloween! buon appetito!

nipitinthebud said...

wow a python pumpkin - never seen anything like it! No wonder all the energy of the plant went into just that one. I had masses of pumpkins this year but they're all looking rather dull in their roundness compared to yours!

jane said...

yum!! great post. i´d love your pie recipe. i once tried, but it came out too watery. besos dear francesca!

Catherine said...

O my GOD, you are so Italian! Those recipes sound fantastic! How I miss living there!Quanto darei per un pezzo di pecorino!

Lindah said...

This reminds me of the trombone squash we grew one year long ago. Talk about rampant and productive! One vine --which wandered across the garden and into our neighbor's yard-- was more than enough to feed our family of 6 with plenty of fruits to give away. The squash grew into elongated shapes much like your photo of the neck pumpkin.