Pumpkin purée with parmesan
For success with this recipe, do not use pre-grated parmesan. Grate the cheese yourself no more than an hour before you intend to use it in order to retain maximum flavor.
The same holds true for the nutmeg, which should be grated directly over the purée. If you don’t have a nutmeg grater, you might want to consider buying one. They last a lifetime and the difference between fresh nutmeg and the ground variety is startling. Once you’ve tried the freshly grated kind, you’ll never look back.
2 pounds (1 kilo) pumpkin
water for steaming
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. crème fraîche or heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 3 oz.), loosely packed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
Remove the seeds and stringy fibers from the pumpkin and discard. Remove the peel and discard. Cut the remaining pumpkin into large chunks.
Bring the water to a boil in the bottom of your steamer. Place the pumpkin in the steamer basket and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Blend the pumpkin thoroughly using an immersion blender or countertop blender. Add the sea salt, olive oil and cream, and blend again. Taste to check that the pumpkin is thoroughly puréed. Transfer to a clean pot.
Stir in the parmesan. Grind in some pepper and grate some nutmeg over the purée. Taste and correct the seasonings as necessary. Reheat gently, stirring, until the parmesan has melted completely. Serves 4-6.
This purée goes nicely alongside fish, meat or poultry. If you’d like to serve it on its own as a lunch dish or for a simple supper, place the finished purée in a baking dish, top with more grated parmesan and bake in a very hot oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese has started to brown. For a bright touch, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top.