It’s pumpkin season! fall is the perfect time of the year to get the best pumpkins and porcini mushrooms.
Pumpkins and porcini are a staple in Italian cooking this time of the year. October and November are full of seasonal food festivals in many regions, and the stars of those fairs are pumpkins, porcini, wild boar and chestnuts. In Tuscany porcini wild boar and chestnuts are particularly cherished in the fall, the villages in the mountains of Tuscany are all been well know for those three ingredients for ages.
Pumpkin and porcini health benefits: boost your immune system!
Pumpkins, as an “orange” vegetable, is full of carotenoids that are known to be able to boost our immune system, but can also help in stave cancer cells. Besides carotenoids, pumpkins are vitamins and iron, tryptophans that help sleep better, lots of fibers and also potassium to help in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and kidney stones. The vitamins in the pumpkin are also very helpful for our skin and have many anti-aging properties.
Porcini are also good allies for our health. They are very rich in fibers and so they acts ad prebiotic and allow for a strong diversity in our microbiome. In addition to the direct effect on the microbiome, studies have shown how mushrooms boost our immune system by increasing the production of antibodies such as IgA and IgG. Last but not least, mushrooms are packed with beta-glucans that helps our heart in staying healthy.
Foods like this can and should be enjoyed a lot, especially this time of the year when influenza and other cold or viruses are common.
Pumpkin and porcini: variations
This is a nice recipe to make if you have guests, it makes for a very nice single portion, however, you can easily turn it into a pie or even make a risotto using the same ingredients without the pastry.
Want to turn it into a vegan recipe?
Use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter. To spread it on the pastry a brush will help keep the oil layer uniform.
Ingredients for 4/6 servings
- 70gr of butter (50g for the dough, 20g more for the folds)
- 120gr of plain flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of baking powder
- 200gr of pumpkin or pumpkin purée
- 5gr of dried porcini mushrooms (30gr if using fresh porcini)
- rosemary and garlic
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
Soak the dried porcini into lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. If you are using fresh skip the soaking.
While waiting, combine 50gr of butter with 100gr of flour, the baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the ingredients until you get a crumbly dough. Add 4 tablespoon of water and keep kneading. The dough must be smooth and a little sticky. If it becomes too sticky, add the rest of the four. The dough must be very elastic and very soft.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle 1cm thick with a rolling pin, on a pastry board dusted with four. Spread the pastry evenly with half of the remaining butter. Fold the bottom third of the rectangle up toward the centre, aligning the edges. Then fold the top third down. Flatten again the dough and spread the rest of the butter. Fold again two times more. Let the dough sit in the fridge, covered with a plastic wrap until the filling is ready.
Cut the pumpkin into 0,5cm cubes and stir fry it on a pan with a tablespoon of oil, a crushed garlic and some rosemary. When golden brown, add some water, salt and pepper and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
If you are using pumpkin puree, mix it in a bowl with some dried garlic powder and dried rosemary.
Cut the porcini into small pieces and add them to the pumpkin. Let it cook for five more minutes then, check the saltiness and turn off the heat.
Flatten the pastry with a rolling pin and cut discs a little bigger that the holes of a muffin pan. Put the discs in the pan and fill them with the pumpkin and porcini mixture. Cut the remaining pastry into stripes to decorate the little basket.
Bake the baskets at 200°C (390°F) for about 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.