Monday, February 7, 2011

Pursued by the Headless Horseman ...

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been a fireside classic for centuries. The tale of a gangly schoolmaster and the ghost of a Hessian soldier has set spines tingling the world over and spawned many dreaded fears of the dark forests. I myself loved the story and spent many childhood hours out in the forest with my father imagining all sorts of wild things happening around me.
Now it is JennietheDog who roams the forests of the Italian Dolomites with me. Wild boar crash through the undergrowth and the small deer that live here occasionally spring up and scare the daylights right out of me. But it is beautiful ... spring, summer, and fall. This soup recipe is seasonal here in Italy and served all throughout the Fall and winter. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Zuppa di Zucca
(Pumkin Soup)

You will need:
olive oil
1-2 T. butter
1 small kubocha or a nice size butternut squash
1 sweet potato
1 small onion (diced)
2-3 cups of a good vegetable or chicken broth
1-2 t. of maple syrup or honey (optional)
Garnish with creme fraiche, sour creme, or roasted hulled pumpkin seeds and a sprig of chives.

Preheat oven to 350 F. or 175 C.
Cut the sweet potato in half. Cut the pumpkin or the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Lightly coat with olive oil on the inside and the outside and roast, cut side up, for about 1 hour or until very tender. Allow to cool.
While that is cooking sweat the onions in the butter over very low heat till clear but not browned.
Once the squash and sweet potato are cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh and add tothe pot along with enough the onions and enough of the broth to cover. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Purre in small bahes in a blender or use a hand blender and ouree in the pot. Add salt and taste. If you would prefer it to have a bit more sweetness add the syup or honey. Serve hot with a dollop of creme fraiche, sour creme, or roasted hulled pumpkin seeds.

Roasted Pumkin Seeds

Lay a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a cooki sheet and lightly coat with butter.
1/2 c. hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 T. butter
1 t. sea salt ( I like the bits of salt but you could easily use kosher salt)
roast till they bigib to turn golden.
In a sauce pan boil 1/2 c. maple syrup  for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the seeds and a pinch of smokey paprika or cayenne pepper. Boil for another 3 minutes and pour out onto the buttered piece of parchment paper. Allow to cool and break into bits.

We eat these as a snack quite often which is why there are none in the photo above. Sorry, just imagine little golden brown toasty bits perched on top. There you go!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh - I've got a butternut squash and it's a horrible wet and windy day - do I feel a pot of soup coming on!!