Monday, 22 November 2010
Meat-Free Monday: Fondue Squash with Orzo
When I saw this recipe a couple of weeks ago, I knew that I had to make it! I mean, what could be better than pumpkin, baked slowly with garlic, cheese and crème fraîche? Well, pumpkin baked slowly with garlic, cheese and crème fraîche and mixed with lovely little torpedoes of orzo pasta. Am I right?
Well, I did encounter a slight hurdle - a round squash was not to be found. So I used butternut, and since there wasn't a big enough cavity for my cheese mixture, I peeled it, cut it into chunks and tipped it into a pyrex baking dish, then covered it with foil.
Unfortunately the flavour was only so-so. It was just a bit one-dimensional. It was definitely sweet and creamy, if that is what blows your hair back, but I wanted more. Paul made the point that vegetarian dishes sometimes lack umami, so it feels like there is a hole in the flavour landscape. I think he is partly right, but I don't think adding bacon is necessarily the answer (on this occasion). Adding some dry white wine, to balance the sweetness with a bit of acidity perhaps. Maybe finishing it with a gremolata (garlic, parsley and lemon zest) instead of the crisp sage leaves. Maybe just a squeeze of lemon juice for a bit of zing, or some parmesan for a deeper savoury kick. It's definitely worth revisiting with some of those ideas in mind.