Autumn is perfect time to start indulging in some hearty food, and pumpkin is the quintessential Autumn vegetable. Roast pumpkin and ecshallots become a delicious light lunch once you add them to pre-made puff pastry, topped with funky washed-rind cheese such as taleggio. I’ll have mine with a cheeky wine. Cheers!
350g jap pumpkin flesh, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunky 1cm-thick slices
175g eschallots, peeled and cut into halves or quarters
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few rosemary and/or thyme sprigs
150g large, firm mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
100g washed-rind cheese (try King River Gold from Milawa Cheese, or taleggio)
Heat the oven to 190C.
Put the pumpkin and eschallots on a large, flat baking tray. Pour over the oil, season and scatter with the herbs. Roast for 30 minutes, stir in the mushrooms and cook for 20 minutes more, until everything is cooked and starting to caramelise. Don’t let it colour too much, because it is cooked more later on.
Turn up the oven to 200C. Tip the vegetables into a dish.
Lay the pastry sheet on the baking tray and score a border 2 centimetres in around the edges; don’t cut right through. Spread the vegetables over the pastry, leaving the border clear.
Slice the cheese thickly and arrange on top. Add more herbs and seasoning, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
Serve with a salad of bitter or peppery leaves to balance the sweet pumpkin and shallots.