Published by Knopf
This creamy specialty of the Veneto is my favorite Italian pumpkin dish. Everyone marvels at how good it is.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Equipmentbaking/gratin dish, blender, food processor
Taste and Texturecreamy, rich, sweet
Type of Dishdessert
- 1 lb (500 g) orange pumpkin (weighed when skin, seeds, and stringy bits have been removed)
- 2 oz (50 g) butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk, warmed
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- White pepper
- 2–3 teaspoons sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- Butter for the pan
- Flour for the pan
Peel the pumpkin, remove seeds and stringy bits, and cut it in pieces. Put these in a pan with a tight-fitting lid with about ½ cup (125 ml) of water, and steam for 20–30 minutes, until soft. Then, if any water remains, cook with the lid off until the liquid disappears.
Make a stiff béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a pan, add the flour, and stir vigorously for a few minutes, then add the milk gradually, stirring all the time to avoid lumps, and simmer for about 8 minutes.
Mash the pumpkin to a puree with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the butter and flour for the pan) and beat. (You may blend everything together to a cream in a blender or food processor.) Taste to adjust the flavoring. This is all-important with pumpkins. They grow particularly sweet in the Veneto, and that is why you will probably need to add sugar to approximate the taste. Pour into a greased and floured, preferably nonstick, baking dish or mold (a ring mold or a round bomba will do very well) and bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 45 minutes. Turn out and serve hot.
1996 Claudia Roden