This recipe will work with big pumpkins or smaller, sweeter squashes. Be generous with the seasonings – especially if you’re using a big pumpkin.
1 good sized pumpkin (2 -2.5Kg)
Olive oil, Garlic cloves, Sprigs rosemary, Dried chilli flakes
Dried mixed herbs or marjoram or thyme
Salt & Pepper
Halve the pumpkin, then third each of the halves. Scoop out all the seeds and innards. Deeply score the flesh in a criss-cross style. Rub some olive oil into the surface with your hands. Add the flavourings to the flesh:
Rub with garlic, peeled and squashed with a knife
Stick cloves of garlic into the crosses
Lay rosemary sprigs on top
Sprinkle on dried chilli flakes or herbs
Season well with sea salt & pepper
Place on a baking tray and bake at 180°C / 350ºF / Gas 4 for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and set aside.
For the Risotto:
270g Pot or Pearl Barley (about 45g per person)
1 large onion
2 tbsp olive oil
½ small glass white wine (optional – Cairn o mohr Oakleaf works well!)
4 fresh sage leaves
1.2 litres/ 2 pints vegetable stock (add 1 heaped tsp of Marigold Bouillon to boiling water)
Using a heavy based pan with tight fitting lid, warm the olive oil. Add the finely chopped onions and allow to cook for about 5 minutes till golden. Tear the sage leaves, add with the barley and allow to cook for another minute. Add wine if using. Add all the stock, stir and cover. Simmer for at least 1 hour if using pot barley. Pearl barley should cook in 45-50 minutes. Check and stir at regular intervals, adding more liquid so that it remains soupy.
When the barley is almost done, stir in the pumpkin mix and check seasoning. Allow to simmer away for another 20 minutes or until the texture is right.
Serve either on its own, with grated cheese, yogurt, or with a side vegetable like cabbage.
If you have made enough for 2 days just add more hot stock on day two and gently reheat.