This week we got our first hints of autumn- a morning chill and bright clear days.
This is when the pumpkins start appearing and to celebrate the fact I went to the pumpkin fair in St Mayme de Pereyrol. This is a delightfully rustic affair with pumpkins of enormous size on display. However when it comes to pumpkins size is not a good thing. I adore pumpkin but not those orange things with the bland, watery flesh. My favourites are the bluey-silvery skinned ones with a very firm flesh. I was lucky enough to find some at the fair- known here as Hungarian Blue
but it looked very like the ones from my childhood in New Zealand.
A good firm fleshed pumpkin would work well for this dish but I am using a butternut squash as they are easier to find and not so seasonal.
For four I use a whole butternut about 1.5kg (3lb) but this is not an exacting dish so don't pay too much attention to the size of the butternut. Just use what you have.
I prefer spaghettis for this but any pasta will do. Although I have suggested 350g (12 ounces) for four- you will know how much pasta you eat.
1 butternut squash
3-4 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
an hour before dinner :
Heat the oven to 180 C (375 F)
Peel the butternut and cut into small cubes of about 4 cms (1-2 inches). Removing all the seeds by scraping out with a small spoon.
The easiest way to peel a butternut is to cut it crosswise into slices and then peel the slices.
Peel and chop the garlic into small pieces.
Scatter the butternut and garlic into a shallow roasting pan.
Sprinkle the olive oil over the vegetable and stir it around so the oil coats the butternut. Add some salt and a good grind of black pepper.
Place into the hot oven for about 45 minutes until the butternut is cooked and soft.
Chop some parsley and grate some parmesan for your garnish
20 minutes before eating :
Put on the water for pasta and cook as per the instructions.
Warm the bowl which you will mix the pasta dish in
When the pasta and butternut are cooked :
Mash the butternut gently with a fork.
Drain the pasta- reserving a little of the pasta water.
Place in a warmed bowl.
Add the butternut to the pasta tossing it gently to mix the butternut in. Slowly add some of the pasta water, tablespoon by tablespoon, to moisten the whole thing and the pasta is evenly coated with the golden butternut.
After serving the pasta, garnish with parsley and parmesan.