A simple post with some rustic vegetarian recipes based on two extremely affordable and easy to find winter ingredients: pumpkin and Tropea onions.
The recipes are easy and require only a little bit of organisation. I suggest to have some homemade broth ready to use. Usually I make it in advance and stock it in the freezer in small separate containers. I don't have a traditional recipe for the broth, I add whatever I have: onions, carrots, leeks, sometimes tomatoes, celeriac, broccoli, some sea salt, then I add about a bottle of water (1,5 lt), bring to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for one hour and a half. When I plan to have soup or risotto, I simply take out of the freezer the amount of stock I need in the morning. I will confess that sometimes I even throw in the oven some vegetables while I wait for my coffee... so that half of the work gets done immediately, before I even step out of the house, so that I don't have to worry about it anymore throughout the day 😅😅😅, but of course I don't expect you to be as 'crazy' as myself. And no... I am not a well organised person... but rather, I am very lazy and well aware that when I get home after a day of work, I don't have the right mindset to engage in complicated cooking and don't mind finding half of the job already done ;)
Anyhow, I hope you'll enjoy these soothing dishes, my sort of comfort food.
PUMPKIN, LEEK AND POTATO SOUP
Ingredients for 2: 3 slices of pumpkin 2 leeks (medium size) 1 red potato (a potato that is not too floury) 3/4 lt homemade veg broth
black pepper herbs ( I suggest thyme or cilantro)
Peel the potatoes, roughly chop the leeks, slice the pumpkin (you can leave seeds and skin and remove them once cooked, it will be easier and take less time). Put the vegetables in a pan, keep the pumpkin separate, add a pinch of salt, some drops of olive oil, and bake at 180° for 50 minutes.
In a pot, pour a few drops of olive oil and a crushed clove of garlic. When the oil starts popping, remove the garlic and add the baked vegetables. Stir a couple of minutes and add your broth. Bring to a boil, adjust salt if needed, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Once ready, blend all together and serve hot with some ground black pepper, a herb of choice and some toasted brown bread.
RISOTTO WITH BAKED PUMPKIN AND CARAMELISED ONIONS
Ingredients for 2: 160 gr rice (type: Arborio or Vialone Nano)
3 slices baked pumpkin
1 Tropea onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 lt broth
Pre-bake the pumpkin and once ready remove skin and seeds and mash it. Heat a pan, pour some olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic (remove after a minute) and cook the red onions until they start becoming a little golden/brown. Add the rice and toast it for a few minutes, then add the mashed pumpkin and gently stir. I gradually add the veg broth, a little at a time so that the rice can absorb it well and become nice and creamy, and keep stirring the whole time, about 16/18 minutes. If you like you can make it extra creamy grating some parmesan the last minute of cooking.
ZUCCA IN SAOR Recipe courtesy of Francesca Luise, alias Cookeneim
Francesca is a friend and a vegetarian and vegan home cook. She gives private cooking lessons and hopefully I'll share more about her work soon ;)
1 kg pumpkin (Delica type)
1,5 kg Tropea onions rice flour (for a gluten free version) or 0 flour
1 glass red vinegar
2/3 laurel leaves 1 Tbsp sea salt 4 teaspoons brown sugar
e.v.o. oil a handful of pine nuts and raisins (optional)
Cut the pumpkin, remove seeds and skin, chop into slices about 1 cm thick (0,40 inch) and flour, if needed remove the flour in excess with a strainer. In a pot, bring to 180° a good quantity of oil and fry the pumpkin wedges. Let cool on a plate with some blotting paper, so that it absorbs the oil.
Separately, roughly chop the onions and let simmer in a pot with 2/3 leaves of dried laurel, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Once the onions look nice and tender, add 4 teaspoons of sugar and a glass of red vinegar. Increase the heat slightly to allow the vinegar to evaporate, then turn off the heat and let cool. In a baking dish, create a layer with 2/3 spoons of onions and 2/3 spoons of their liquid, add the pumpkin and finally cover with the remaining onions. If you like, at this point you can add pine nuts and raisins. Refrigerate for one day before serving. It's delicious both served cold or heated in the oven!
TROPEA ONIONS AU GRATIN
Ingredients for 2: 3 Tropea onions breadcrumbs
black olives (Taggiasche or Leccino) e.v.o. oil
Method: Peel the onions, slice in half. Cover with abundant breadcrumbs, some black olives and some cili if you like, pour some drops of olive oil and bake at 180° for about 40 minutes. I suggest to use the grill mode for the last 8/10 minutes.
PUMPKIN & COFFEE TEACAKE
150 gr mashed pumpkin (previously baked)
70 ml seed oil
140 gr 00 flour
60 gr spelt flour
9 gr baking powder
110 gr brown sugar
1 espresso cup coffee (room temperature)
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
In a bowl, sift the flours and baking powder. In a separate bowl, with a wooden spoon combine mashed pumpkin and seed oil, keep aside.
Pre-heat oven at 180°. Whisk eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until you obtain a nice and foamy mixture. Add the pumpkin and oil mix and combine.
Spoon in the dry ingredients and amalgamate well, making sure to remove possible lumps. Pour half of the dough in a separate bowl and add the cocoa and the coffee and combine.
Butter and flour a baking tin and pour in the mixtures, alternating them. Bake at 180° for 40 minutes.