(photo credit: Courtesy)
Crema di ZuccaInstructions:
in Tuscany looks a lot like the neighborhood pumpkin patch I remember
visiting when I was a kid. Pumpkins of shapes, sizes and colors are
piled high. This versatile vegetable stores well for winter, is easily
canned and is frequently featured in savory dishes. This luxuriously
textured soup is a perfect example of cucina povera,
which is the practice of using what is readily available and seasonal.
The fragrant woodsy Porcini mushrooms can be a little expensive-but
their flavor and fragrance make them worthwhile ingredient. Look for
porcini pieces instead of the whole mushroom. It will be much cheaper.
-Extra Virgin olive oil
-7 cups plus 1-cup vegetable stock (See recipe, page)
-1 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
-1 7 pound pumpkin, about 5 cups peeled and diced pumpkin (look for Sugar Pumpkin) or 3 cups canned pumpkin puree
-6 Cipollini onions, peeled and cut in quarters, or shallots
-1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
-1 medium head Savoy cabbage, very thinly sliced
-Salt and pepper
the one cup of vegetable stock in a small saucepan with the dried
porcini mushrooms. Bring to simmer. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Brown the diced pumpkin if using in batches in a large sauté pan
lightly coated with olive oil. Be sure to season each batch with salt
and pepper. Transfer the pumpkin to a stock pot.
3. Brown the
cipollini onions in the same pan adding more olive oil if necessary
until they are completely browned. Transfer the onions to the stock pot.
Add the stock, porcini mushrooms, soaking liquid and nutmeg to the
stock pot. Cover and cook on low heat until the pumpkin is very soft.
Puree the pumpkin in batches or with an immersion blender adding more
liquid if necessary.
5. Add the cabbage and simmer for 30
minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil, a
sprinkle of parmesan cheese if serving dairy, shredded chicken if
serving meat and toasted pumpkin seeds.