When Gordon Ramsey tweets a recipe, I sit up and take notice; if the recipe is good enough for Gordon to tweet to his 100,000+ followers, then it certainly is good enough for me. After skimming this particular recipe, I found myself powerless in my effort not to hit “print” and, as it spewed forth from the printer, I vowed to make the dish as soon as I could. That opportunity came sooner than expected when last Sunday, thanks to the grey skies and rain, I found myself with spare time and a desire to hide myself away in the kitchen for hours of soul-enriching cooking.
This recipe calls for use of a vegetable that I feel is completely undervalued in North American cooking; the humble pumpkin. And what perfect timing! It is that time of the year where pumpkin and squash are at the height of their popularity; the “cool kids” of fall, if you will. Cooler days means more warm, comforting soups so embrace the pumpkin and give this soup a try. The velvety texture and rich flavor will be reward enough for the effort of making your own soup from scratch. The recipe is actually quite simple and fast to make so you will have plenty of time to make this in advance and heat it up again just before serving – a little trick that I am going to try for Thanksgiving Dinner. As a side note, although truffle oil is very expensive, it really did complete the dish.
Gordon Ramsay’s pumpkin velouté with parmesan toast – Serves 6
1.3 kg pumpkin or butternut squash
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Generous splash of dry white wine
2 bay leaves
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
Parmesan rind, about 50g
3-4 tablespoons of double cream
Drizzle of truffle oil (optional)
For the Parmesan toast:
6 slices of sliced white bread, crusts removed
Drizzle of olive oil
3 tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan
Peel the pumpkin or butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Chop the flesh into small chunks. Melt the butter in a large pan then tip in the pumpkin and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the pumpkin over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until soft and lightly golden, stirring frequently.
Pour in a good splash of dry white wine and cook until it has bubbled away to leave a syrupy glaze over the pumpkin. Add the bay leaves and 800ml of the stock then bring to the boil. Drop in the Parmesan rind and simmer gently uncovered for about 10-15 minutes, until the pumpkin is completely tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool a little. Discard the Parmesan rind then blend the soup with a handheld blender or in batches in a food processor until smooth. If you like you can pass the soup through a blender for a smoother finish. Adjust the consistency and flavour of the soup with salt, pepper, more stock and double cream to taste.
For the Parmesan toasts, lightly toast the slices of bread on both sides. Slice off the crusts then roll each slice out as thinly as possible using a rolling pin. Cut in half on the diagonal to leave you with neat triangles. Lay them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush with a little olive oil. Sprinkle over the Parmesan then grill for 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp.
Reheat the soup and ladle into soup bowls. Drizzle with a little truffle oil (if using) and serve with the warm Parmesan toasts on the side.