Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Ripe Chèvre Sandwich

by eat in my kitchen

Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Aged Chèvre Sandwich

They are finally back on my windowsill – colourful pumpkins in all shades, shapes and sizes! At the beginning of a new season I tend to hoard nature’s new produce like a squirrel. My excitement for the fruits and vegetables that I’ve been missing and looking forward to for months causes irrational behavior at the market. When I came home with enough pumpkin to feed a large Mediterranean family I thought it would be a good idea to purée one of them and make space on my crowded kitchen tops. I turned it into a pesto.

Pesto comes from the Italian word pestare, meaning to pound and to crush, herbs are the most common ingredient but vegetables are an equally delicious but often neglected addition. Broccoli, asparagus, beans, peas, there are no limitations. Winter squash is packed with taste and subtle sweetness, once puréed the texture is so smooth that it seems like pumpkin is practically made to become a pesto. You can use canned purée or cook the squash in the oven, which I always prefer, it tastes better. My bright pesto is refined with orange juice and zest, thyme and the vegetable’s seeds. I went for Hokkaido as you can use its skin and I appreciate its nutty flavour, butternut or Musque de Provence work just as well. I’m sure it would be scrumptious stirred into warm spaghetti but I spread it voluptuously on a sandwich instead, with dried dates to enhance the sweetness and Sainte-Maure de Touraine affiné, an aromatic ripe Chèvre.

Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Aged Chèvre Sandwich

 

Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Aged Chèvre Sandwich

Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Ripe Chèvre Sandwich

You can also use the pumpkin pesto for pasta dishes.

Makes 3 sandwiches

dark buns, cut in half, 3
Sainte-Maure de Touraine affiné, sliced, 80g / 3 ounces
(or any other aged Chèvre)
dried dates, pitted, quartered, 3-4
fresh thyme leaves, 1 tablespoon
pumpkin seeds 1 tablespoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the pumpkin pesto

Hokkaido (with skin) or butternut squash (peeled), cut into cubes, 350g / 12 1/2 ounces
pumpkin seeds 2 tablespoons
olive oil 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon
orange zest 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon
fresh thyme leaves 1-2 teaspoons
salt

Preheat the oven to 200°c / 390°F (convection oven). Spread the pumpkin in a baking dish and fill the bottom with water (about 60ml 1/4 cup). Wet a large piece of parchment paper, big enough to cover the baking dish and lay it on top of the pumpkin. Cook it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Purée the pumpkin in a food processor, add the pumpkin seeds, olive oil, juice, zest, thyme and salt and purée until smooth. Season with orange, thyme and salt to taste.

Spread the pumpkin pesto voluptuously on the bottom side of a bun, lay the Chèvre on top and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, dates, thyme and pepper. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Aged Chèvre Sandwich

 

Pumpkin Pesto, Date and Aged Chèvre Sandwich

 

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