This soup does not claim a particular source; In fact, I developed the recipe for several dinners. And yet I dare say that most Italians will immediately recognize him as “Italian” – even if the seasoning may throw them off at first.
To me this soup speaks a northern Italian accent and is associated with the cooking of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, perhaps because it is reminiscent of the local Tortelli di Zucca, The sweet and spicy pumpkin ravioli that are among the jewels of Italian cooking. It is not much more than roasted pumpkin and cooked chickpeas, but there is an unusual seasoning that elevates the dish. The mixture of nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon is something I came to a few years ago after reading The cuisine of the Middle Ages. Recipes from France and Italy (Odile Radon, Françoise Saban and Silvano Cervanti, University of Chicago Press, Originally published with the title Middle-aged gastronomy: 150 recipes from France and Italy, Stock editions). Brilliant reading and excellent recipes. The unusual seasoning gives the dish an exotic advantage.
500 g butter pumpkin or crown (net weight after cleaning)
500 g cooked chickpeas (or two cans, washed)
2 finely chopped shallots
1 sprig of rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
3 or 4 large sage leaves
Vegetable stock (or chickpea cooking liquid)
A generous pinch of medieval spices
Cut the butter / crown pumpkin, drizzle with a little oil and roast in a hot oven until softened and golden.
Medieval spices: half a teaspoon each of grated nutmeg and cardamom powder, a little less ground black peppercorns and ground cinnamon. You will not use everything but it is kept for weeks (they are also excellent on simple pasta with butter with parmigiano).
Chop the rosemary and sage together and set aside.
Fry the shallots and half of the herbs in a ball of butter, over a low heat, lightly salt them and leave the pot covered. When the shallots are soft, add the pumpkin and chickpeas and mix well. Add enough hot vegetable stock to barely cover the vegetables; If you have a piece of parmesan peel in the fridge, add it to the pot: it will give the soup a wonderful cheese flavor, and cut, you can eat it too, when cooked – it becomes pleasantly sticky.
Add a pinch of the spices.
Let it simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Process some of the soup with a manual blender to obtain a creamy texture. Lightly fry the rest of the chopped herbs in a little more butter and add them to the soup, alongside a generous handful of parmigiano. Check for salt and add a little acidity to balance the overall sweetness: a teaspoon or something like lemon juice or vinegar will suit. Just before serving, add a little more of the medieval spice mixture. Sometimes I add some roasted pumpkin seeds or some crushed amar biscuits – the combination of pumpkin, parmesan, spices and amar is really good
This soup is very forgiving. You can try adding some pancetta in the early stages and / or some sliced potatoes (with less pumpkin).
I also enjoyed with fish: add chunks of white fish flakes pre-salted at the end of the soup, turn it off and let the fish cook in the remaining heat and steam of the soup. Smoked fish also works well.
With Borlotti and Porcini: Add a little chopped dried peppers to the shallots and use the Borlotti instead of chickpeas
Update 2021: I added freshly grated ginger to its initial supper – excellent. I only used pumpkin.
Nato fuorimilano, lungamente a Londra, ora in Sempione (Mi). 2013 update: ritornato in the UK. Aperto un ristorante a Lyme Regio, nel Dorset Update 2015: venduto il ristorante e tornato a Londra … ora bisogna re / inventarsi … Il mio blog in italiano è: www.qbbq.wordpress.com (qbbq = Quanto Basta Basta Quanto) il mio blog / mini sito in English è: www.italianhomecooking.co.uk —————— I was born just outside Milan, so I lived in London, now back in Milan. Update 2013: I returned to the UK, we bought a restaurant in Lime Regis, Dorst Update 2015: More in London: We sold the restaurant and now it’s time to reinvent ourselves ….. Let’s see what happens … My blog in Italian is: www.qbbq .wordpress.com My blog in English is: www.italianhomecooking.co.uk
View all posts by stefano arturi