Squashes of all stripes: butternut, pumpkin and more

By Keda Black

It’s the quintessential fall vegetable, or family of vegetables, rather. The one that everyone enjoys in a comforting soup topped with croutons. But the dense, sweet flesh is even more delicious when subtly balanced with complementary flavours. In soups and much more besides. Here are a few pairings that never disappoint. 

Squashes of all stripes: butternut, pumpkin and more

Musquée de Provence pumpkin – buckwheat 

Spice up your cream of Musquée pumpkin soup with a touch of buckwheat from Brittany. The roasted flavours offer a lovely counterpoint to the sweetness of the vegetable. Toast 2 tablespoons of buckwheat groats in a pan with a little oil. To make your soup, slice and brown 3 yellow onions and 2 slices of smoked bacon sliced in 15 g (0.5 oz) butter. Add 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of diced butternut squash, 80 cl (3.5 cups) of water and a vegetable stock cube. Simmer for 20 minutes and blend. Sprinkle with the buckwheat groats. Another option: mix your groats with butter at room temperature and place a spoonful on each bowl of soup. 

Butternut squash – sheep milk or goat cheese 

The rich, nutty flavour of this variety of squash goes particularly well with creamy, slightly sour dairy products. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and slice at 5 mm intervals (every quarter of an inch) – stopping short before you go all the way through, to open it up like an accordion. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven at 190°C (375°F) for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with a bit of honey. Serve with Brousse cheese from Provence or Brocciù from Corsica.  

Red kuri squash – chestnut 

A classic pairing, and one of the tastiest. Try it in a soup. Cook 800 g (1.75 lbs) of squash in 1 litre (1 quart) vegetable stock with 3 onions that have been lightly browned in 15 g (0.5 oz) butter, then add packaged Ardèche chestnuts for the last 5 minutes and blend. Now it’s time for the finishing touches: cream, Greek yogurt and chives for a bit of zip. 

Hungarian blue squash – smoked pepper 

The smoked flavour of the pepper elevates the rustic flavour of the squash, which is delicious in a smooth puree. Cut the blue squash into chunks and boil or roast in the oven, then blend with a bit of butter and season with smoky Espelette pepper. An excellent side dish for game, a guinea fowl or even baked salmon. If you want to steer clear of the spiciness, try smoked Guérande salt. 

Pumpkin - leek oil 

What better with the slight sweetness of pumpkin than aromatic herbs? You can never have enough herbs! Prepare the oil by mixing 10 cl (1/2 cup) grapeseed oil with the well-cleaned tops of 2 leeks. Infuse at very low heat for 10 minutes and discard the tops. Use this preparation on pumpkin gnocchi. No need to panic – here’s the recipe. Roast 300 g (0.7 lbs) diced pumpkin in the oven at 170°C (340°F) for 1 hour. Mix with 200 g (just under half a pound) mashed potatoes, salt and pepper, along with enough flour to form a dough that holds together. Shape by hand into long tubes 1 cm (1/3 inch) in diameter and cut into gnocchi. Boil in simmering water for a few minutes. Serve drizzled with your homemade leek oil! 


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