Creamy pumpkin topped by crunchy parmesan-herb topping….parmesan, sage, rosemary and thyme… yes please! Sometimes we think of pumpkin as being a sweet thing (which it is) but it’s so nice to mix it up and try a savory preparation. Bonus: your home will smell heavenly as these are roasting. Thanks to the geniuses at Ottolenghi – every one of their recipes I’ve tried has been outstanding (check out this post for chilled soba noodles with mango, eggplant, and basil, as well as the cookbook, for more Ottolenghi goodness!). One day maybe I’ll make it to their restaurant in London.
Here is the pumpkin I used to make these wedges (spoon shown for scale) – it’s a small Japanese kabocha pumpkin which seems to be more readily available in American markets these days (I got mine from FreshDirect). I think this would work with any small pumpkin or squash (as long as you can eat the skin). Note this does not include Jack O’Lantern pumpkins… they are not good eatin’, as it turns out (I’m eternally thankful to my friend who educated me on this point!).
SAVORY ROASTED PUMPKIN WEDGES WITH CRUNCHY PARMESAN HERB TOPPING
Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
1 squash or pumpkin with edible skin – mine was 3 1/4 lbs. whole – the proportions below are for 1 1/2 lbs, adjust according to how big your squash or pumpkin is
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
3 T. panko (Japanese plain breadcrumbs)
2-3 T. mixed savory herbs, minced (I purchased a “poultry pack” single-use pack of mixed herbs, which was sage, rosemary, and thyme. It was perfect for this! No poultry required. Original recipe calls for 6 T. parsley and 2 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped. Do what you like or have on hand. I did enjoy singing the Simon & Garfunkel song to myself though…. parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme… la la la)
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, pressed
olive oil, for brushing both sides of the pumpkin wedges
Hefty & sharp kitchen knife for butchering the pumpkin. Seriously, BE SAFE WITH THIS. Baking sheet and parchment paper for baking the wedges (a silpat would work too). A pastry brush is nice for brushing the olive oil onto the wedges.
Prepare the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wash the pumpkin. Now, take some deep yoga breaths. You need to be really careful and get your biggest, sharpest knife for this job. In the original recipe they say to cut 3/8″ slices – but I couldn’t manage this, not being a professional chef and all, so my tips are: Make sure your knife is sharp and RESPECT THAT BAD BOY and the physical force that is required for this. Do not look away from your task. Cut off the top of the pumpkin, then cut it in half. Scoop out all the seeds and pulp and discard them. Now make your wedges. Use your geometry skills and direct your cutting force accordingly. If you can’t make the wedges too small and dainty, just go with what you can do. You can cut it from the bottom (orange side) or the top (skin side), whatever works for you. Just keep your fingers out the way, got it? OK congratulations! You have survived initiation to the Pumpkin Faction. (Yes, that was a Divergent joke.)
Assemble Le Wedges: Did you line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat yet? If not, go ahead and do that. In a smallish bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan, panko, minced herbs, lemon zest, and pressed garlic. Pour a little olive oil into a small bowl and get your brush out. Brush each side of a wedge with olive oil, then lay it down on the baking sheet. Do all the wedges. Now sprinkle the Parmesan mixture over each wedge (try not to get it on the baking sheet, but if you do, no biggie – it will just get brown and crisp and delicious. I KNOW, RIGHT?!).
Roast ’em: Roast these dudes about 30 minutes. They’re done when you can poke a wedge with a little knife and the pumpkin is soft. If it seems like the topping is getting too brown before they are done, cover with foil and continue, then roast the last few minutes without the foil again. Enjoy!!