Rachel Roddy’s recipe for pumpkin, beans, vegetables and cheese | Winter food and drink

IIt’s pretty impressive, I think, when anyone can pick out a watermelon or a pumpkin by sniff or shake. This ability usually involves nerve, too: the confidence to pick up something and examine it on all sides, and a skin thick enough not to be alarmed by shopkeepers, supermarket managers, or signs that say “don’t touch.” I have none of the above, so I’m often disappointed with watermelons and pumpkins. I told this to my friend Alice recently and she revealed her style while shopping at Monteverde Market. She often asks stall owners to cut open melons, gourds, or gourds, promising that she will buy even if it is furry or flavorless, but knowing that it is odorless. And, of course, the cutter is in the corner.

This, too, required nerves and a skin as thick as the curvy, gray-green pumpkin I stood carrying at a store that day. Shaking it didn’t tell me much and I didn’t ask of course. Fortunately, it was not useless. Nor was it particularly great; Despite being a Chioggia sea pumpkin, which are usually reliable stuff, with a thick, savory orange flesh first and foremost, with sweetness coming after that. If I had a little more daring, or I’d go to another store. Other pumpkin varieties to look for are the squat, dark green kabocha, which has a dry, starchy flesh with a flavor of butter and chestnuts with a hint of sweetness; pale blue-green crowns, which look as if someone has sat on them, and have dense flesh reminiscent of Sweden and sweet potatoes; A red, green, and white striped turban pumpkin, which actually looks like a pumpkin wearing a turban, and has a nice flesh like a gourd.

Roasting makes a good pumpkin great, a medium pumpkin even better, and might save a little extra olive oil or butter and salt. That’s what I did, going with the beans and vegetables cooked in the same spirit as the cassoulet—that is, slowly and with seasoning, until tender and well-flavored and surrounded by a starchy bean broth.

Like the classic cassoulet, the beauty of this dish is the soft, almost candy-like beans with a slight crust on top. If you are going to serve it shortly after making it and the dish is still very hot, you should do so for a few minutes under the broiler. If time has elapsed and cool, return dish to oven at 180°C (Fan 160°C)/350°F/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated through and Parmesan cheese bubbling. Variation is good, so serve with green salad, more cheese, and fully ripe pears, if you have the ability and nerve to pick them.

Pumpkin, beans, vegetables and cheese

soak 8 hours +
to equip 15 minutes
cook 75 minutes
serves 4

300 grams of white beansSoak in cold water for 8 hours, then drain
2 cloves of garlicpeeled
1 Hakeem Ghosn
Plus a few extra papers to apply
Salt and black pepper
olive oil
300 grams of cabbage or vegetablescut into coarse strips
1 small pumpkin or butternut squash (about 400 grams)
4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

Place the soaked beans in a heavy saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches (5 cm). Add the garlic, the sage sprig, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bring to a boil and simmer 75 minutes or until beans are tender. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the vegetables.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin or squash into 2-cm wedges, removing the seeds as well as the skin, if desired. Rub with olives and salt, then bake at 200°C (fan 180°C) / 390°F / Gas 6 for 20 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Use a slotted spoon to lift the beans to a large plate, adding just enough liquid to give them a tender, even consistency. Arrange the pumpkin slices and some sage leaves among the beans, and top everything with a swirl of olive oil and Parmesan.

If the dish is still too hot, a few minutes under the grill should be enough to give it a little crust. If time has elapsed and cool, reheat in oven at 180°C (fan 160°C) / 350°F / Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese bubbles.

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