One of the benefits of cooking primarily for the two of us, sometimes with the addition of a couple of friends with known tastes in food, is that we are free to try any recipe that appeals to us. No fussy palates to discourage our enthusiasm!
When we try a new recipe and we like how it works out, we might take a pic or two of the final product. But we wait for the second or third attempt for photos of the method, by which time we have settled on our modifications to the recipe.
Sometimes, as in the case of this dish – a ‘hasselback’ half of butternut pumpkin – we make most of the modifications first-up. But we keep the iPhone lens in its holster so the quest for images doesn’t distract from the job at hand.
You can find the original recipe here. We weren’t convinced by the mix of herbs, so we went to The Cook’s Companion, as listed on our ‘Recipe origins’ page, for some advice. This guided us to go with a mixture of parsley, rosemary and sage.
We also decided to delete the maple syrup – pumpkin is sweet enough already – and reduce the amount of grated parmesan from 60ml to 20ml. Here are the butter mix ingredients ready to be combined.
Maggie began the preparation of the pumpkin half by using a good-quality potato peeler to remove the skin – safer and neater than a knife! Next, she used a fine, sharp serrated knife to make the incisions into the pumpkin. To produce an even result, it helps to turn the pumpkin around 180 degrees so you can cut from both sides.
This is how the pumpkin looked before it went into the oven for the first time. To ensure even cooking, we had brought the pumpkin to room temperature before we began our preparations.
For this first phase, we set the temperature at 160C and cooked the pumpkin for about 45 minutes.
In the next photo, you can see how the incisions have widened during the initial roasting time. Now, we have added about one-third of the butter and herb mix and it is ready to go back in the oven. (Any leftover butter mix can be wrapped and stored in your freezer.)
We gave it about 35 minutes at 165C to produce the result you can see at the top of the post. We basted it after 15 and 25 minutes with the pool of melted butter that formed around the base of the pumpkin.
As we served our portions, it held its shape very well and the combination of flavours was very, very moreish! One of the most attractive recipes for cooking a vegetable that we have come across.
Cheers for now!