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Celebrate Pumpkin Season with The Beer Kitchen by Melissa Cole

24 Oct 2018 |

Pumpkin Season

A bowl that you can eat has to be the ultimate in greedy delight, and these pumpkins look so pretty when baked and bubbling with cheesey, cauliflowery pasta goodness, they’re almost irresistible. If you’d like to make this vegetarian then substitute your cheeses appropriately and omit the chorizo. Replace it with the pumpkin seeds you’ve scooped out, toasted in a dry pan until golden and tossed in smoked paprika instead.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 soup-bowl-sized edible squashes as equally sized as you can find

a pinch of fine sea salt

a pinch of smoked sea salt (optional)

80 g (3 oz) cauliflower, grated or pulsed in the food processor to look like breadcrumbs

225 ml (8 fl oz/scant 1 cup) double (heavy) cream

150 ml (5 fl oz/scant 2/3 cup) Farmhouse ale

1 bouquet garni made up of: 6 sage leaves, 2 bay leaves, 4 squished garlic cloves, 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary, tied together

200 g (7 oz) macaroni or chifferi rigati

1 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

knob of butter

splash of basic olive oil

10 grinds of freshly ground black pepper

150 g (5 oz) good-quality mature Cheddar, grated

175 g (6 oz) Gouda or Emmental (Swiss cheese), finely chopped

40 g (1½ oz) Stinking Bishop or Tallegio, finely chopped

100 g (3½ oz) chorizo picante, finely diced and fried until crispy (optional)

chilli (hot pepper) flakes (optional)

20 g (3/4 oz) Parmesan, grated

Cook & Pair

You can interchange any of the beers from cooking to pairing here.

North End Botanicole – New Zealand

Burning Sky Saison a la Provision – UK

La Sirene Saison – Australia

Saison Dupont – Belgium

Boulevard Brewing Saison Brett – US

Two Brothers Domaine DuPage – US

St Armand French Country Ale – France

Brewery Ommegang Hennepin – USA

St Feuillien Saison – Belgium

Crooked Stave Surette – USA


Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F/Gas 3) and heat a baking tray (sheet).

Cut the top 5 cm (2 in), horizontally, off the squashes, set this ‘lid’ aside, scoop out the innards (reserving the seeds), season the inside of the squash lightly with fine salt (smoked if you want to use it) and pepper. Repeat with the inside of the ‘lids’. If needed, take a very thin slice off the bottom of the squash to ensure it sits stably.

Take an arms’ length of kitchen foil and fold it lengthways three times to create a long, thin ‘belt’. Wrap around the squashes and gently tie to help prevent splitting.

Put the lids back on the squashes, leaving a small gap to allow steam inside to escape, place on the heated baking tray in the oven for 30 minutes to soften and cook.

Meanwhile, put the cauliflower, cream and ale in a saucepan with the bouquet garni over a low heat. Don’t allow to boil.

Put a saucepan of well-salted water on to boil. Add the pasta, stirring after a few minutes. After 5 minutes, take 2 tablespoons of the starchy water and mix it with the cornflour to make a paste.

After 7 minutes, the pasta should be quite al dente, so drain, (reserving some more of the pasta water in case you need it for the sauce), then put back in the pan and mix with the knob of butter and a tiny splash of olive oil to stop it sticking together. Toss so it distributes equally.

Take the bouquet garni out of the cream mixture, add the cornflour and the black pepper. Mix in all but a few handfuls of the different cheeses with the cream.

Using a hand-held blender, blitz the sauce. It should start to thicken quite quickly but if it gets too thick, just add a bit more pasta water. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Mix the cheese sauce and pasta and spoon into the squashes, pop the lids back on, turn the oven down to 150°C (300°F/Gas 1) and cook for 20 minutes. Take the lids off, top with the reserved cheese, sprinkle with chorizo and chilli flakes, if using, and grated Parmesan. Remove the foil ‘belts’ and turn the oven up to 170°C (340°F/Gas 3) and bake for another 10–15 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Leave to rest for 8–10 minutes before serving.

The Beer Kitchen by Melissa Cole is available now from your favourite bookshop and online from Waterstones and Amazon

Melissa's first book, The Little Book of Craft Beer  is available here