Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Time Part 1 - Caramelized

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin ― Linus Van Pelt in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
This quote landed in my in-box the same day I saw that roasted pumpkin* was one of the bonus recipes for this week, and it has been going round and round in my head for a week now. It has also brought back lots of Snoopy and Charlie Brown memories - surely we are well-overdue on a Snoopy revival? I used to love all the Peanuts characters but especially Snoopy (I had a stuffed Snoopy) and Lucy, who tried so hard to make Linus love her. I was prompted to do a bit of googling down memory lane. Here are a couple of gems I found on the net this morning:

Lucy: You think being average is enough, don't you? Well it isn't! What shape would the world be in today if everyone settled for being average?
Linus: What shape is the world in today?


Lucy: This is our last game of the season. Let's win it!
Charlie Brown: Okay. Get out there and play your best.
Lucy: You always have to say something sarcastic, don't you?

So onto pumpkin. I don't get enough pumpkin, because I have sadly found myself to be living in a pumpkin unfriendly family. Largely thanks to my otherwise reasonable husband, the rest of the family treats its appearance at dinner as if it was the ebola virus, capable of contaminating everything else on the table. So I was thrilled to make it this week, and cunningly chose a night that darling husband would be MIA to serve it. Clever. I can now report that if you are trying to introduce unwilling / uninterested daughters to pumpkin, this recipe is a cracker. It gives the pumpkin a meltingly soft texture, and brings out its sweetness, which is surely a kid eatability criteria. Both conceded that it was pretty good. Husband's response? "Good luck to you all." Clearly I still have some work to do on that front.
PS: If you come back tomorrow, I'll show you how the leftovers work in a Nigella Autumn salad.

(NB to US readers, what you can butternut squash, we call butternut pumpkin)

Caramelized Butternut Squash
from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

2 medium butternut squash (abt 2 kgs total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut pumpkin. Peel the pumpkin, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut into 4cm to 5cm cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the pumpkin a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This sounds great and like it would make the house smell heavenly! :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful. I love butternut squash and pumpkin. The orange vegetables are all good.