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.


mscrankypants said...

The gremolata sounds good. Well, all your options sound good, but the gremolata sings the loudest to me.

It's only 8.30am but I'm craving this dish just as it is.

Simona Carini said...

I think that cutting the squash into chunks was a good idea. I have never had squash with quite a bit of cheese and also creme fraiche, but I can imagine how the dish would taste one-dimensional. Looking forward to seeing you revisiting this dish and applying some of your ideas.

tasteofbeirut said...

The photo of that dish is very appealing and I think I would try it minus the orzo!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Cranky - yeah, I think the gremolata is the right thing.

Simona - it certainly made it easier to cook!

Joumana - thank you! Your pumpkin hummus looks really good too.

Rachel said...

That flavor combination sounds great. But maybe a squirt of hot pepper sauce? Don't know if that would blow your hair back, but mine would definitely curl up a bit.

The Cat's Mother said...

Chilli would be my addition too!

Sometimes it is the squash / pumpkin that lacks the flavour because the combination sounds promising.

Unknown said...


That looks awesome and yummy...:)


Alicia Foodycat said...

Rachel - I think you might be right.

Mother - yes, some jalapeno or something, I think.

Dr Sameena - thank you!

Deb in Hawaii said...

It's such a pretty dish--it looks delicious. I like the idea of the gremolata to brighten it up. ;-)


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