It may be because it is the season and you can see it placidly sat on all greengrocer’s counters. It may be for its warm and enveloping color, which recalls that of the leaves on the trees or of the logs lit in the fireplace. Or it may be because I associate it with warm and velvety soups, creamy risottos and steaming tortelli dressed with melted butter and Parmesan cheese. In any case, fall is not fall if there is no pumpkin to cook in the kitchen!
Every year in this period I venture to search for new recipes to cook pumpkin. Two years ago, for example, I prepared pumpkin buns. Last year it was a great success the baked pumpkin salad with black cabbage, sage and hazelnuts by chef Samin Nosrat and published in her illuminating cookbook “Salt, fat, acid, heat “.
However, my natural inclination to look back rather than forward leads me almost always to peruse old regional cookbooks in search of ancient recipes, which tell a story related to the territory.And so I have to tell you that first of all in Liguria pumpkin is used to cook the savory pumpkin pie, a great autumn classic.
In the hinterland of Genoa there is a small village, Murta, which has built a gastronomical festival around its savory pumpkin pie. It takes place every year in November during the San Martino festivities and has become a popular phenomenon over the years.
In the west of the city, then, between the neighbourhood of Sestri Ponente, Pegli, Pra ‘and Voltri, they cook pumpkin farinata, which has nothing to do with the famous chickpea farinata. It is cooked in the oven in a large pan like farinata but it is a sheet of unleavened dough (like the one you will find in the recipe below) covered with grated raw pumpkin, seasoned with parmesan and oregano and baked. I discovered the existence of this pie yesterday doing some research for this post and in this moment in my kitchen there is some grated pumpkin giving its water and ready to be baked in this pie! If I like it I will post the recipe.
Today, however, I share the savory pumpkin pie recipe that has always been cooked in my house, which by the way, more or less, is the same that you can find in Ligurian cookbooks. Like most of the Italian Riviera savory pies, it’s a shell of thin layers of puff pastry made with flour, water and oil (not the classic puff pastry) that contains a dense, soft and velvety filling. The sweetness of the pumpkin here is balanced by the savouriness of the Parmesan and the freshness of the ricotta cheese. To add even more flavor there are those who add dry mushrooms in the filling.
Multiverse dish like all vegetable pies, savory pumpkin pie is a light single dish, a side dish or an aperitif if served in small squares. It is good hot or lukewarm. In short, it is always good as long as the pumpkin is sweet and tasty!
Talking about Samin Nosrat, the first episode of the new culinary series “Sale, fats, acids and heat”, taken from her wonderful cookbook (unfortunately not yet translated into Italian), was aired on Netflix last 11th October. The first episode, on the use of fats in the kitchen, opened with the Liguria extra virgin olive oil (yeeee!). Then Samin cooked our focaccia and our superb pesto, considered as a perfect example of how three different types of fat (oil, pine nuts and cheese) come together to create the best sauce in the world. If you have Netflix do not miss this episode, but I would also say the whole series. I have read the book and I assure you that it is really worth it!
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