Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roast Pumpkin with Rosemary

Let's be clear about one thing: I'm still on holidays, and I'm not cooking properly. But when you're on partial strike – barely cooking, barely shopping – and all your favourite take away joints have closed for a month, you still have to feed everyone somehow. So I'm finding easy ways to make three ingredients taste good. If I were a famous cookbook writer, I'd call it Take Three! – but then, somebody's already done that. Drat.

It's a good concept. The best food is often made of very few ingredients, cooked well. For example, everyone knows, I hope, how to roast a pumpkin. You chop it up, drizzle it with a little oil, and bang it in the oven. But does everyone know how to make it taste extra fine?

Lately, I've been stripping a long stem of rosemary into the baking tray so that it forms a thin layer. Then I cut the pumpkin into slices no more than a centimetre thick, toss it with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt, and lay it flat on the rosemary. As it bakes, the pumpkin become infused with the flavour of the herb; it comes out absolutely delicious. We eat it hot for dinner; and any leftovers are divine the next day smooshed into sandwiches with avocado, hommus, or a bit of cheese.

Roast Pumpkin and Rosemary

- 1 butternut pumpkin
- 1 stem of rosemary, at least 20 cm long
- olive oil
- salt

Pre-heat the oven to 240°C. Cut the pumpkin in half widthways. Halve the halves lengthwise, and cut the seedless quarters into 1cm thick half-moons. Set aside. Scoop out the seeds from the other quarters; then cut them into 1cm thick half-moons and crescent moons. Reflect upon the following by ee cummings:


o(rounD) moon,how
than roUnd)float;
lly &(rOunder than)
:ldenly( Round


Having recalled the beauty of the moon, come back to earth. Roughly strip the rosemary from the stem, and sprinkle it into your dish. Toss the pumpkin with a little olive oil (not too much) and a pinch of salt, then lay it over the rosemary. The more surface area that touches rosemary, the more flavourful the pumpkin will be.

Pop it into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft and beginning to caramelise at the edges. Serve tepid or cold.

Poem by ee cummings, from 95 Poems, a book which I urge you to find and reflect upon.

(Local: pumpkin, rosemary, olive oil. Not local: salt.)

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