This recipe is from Rick Stein’s latest cook book, From Venice to Istanbul. The accompanying television series aired recently and I must say I’ve been cooking a lot of the featured dishes. This particular recipe is a real crowd pleaser and would make a great accompaniment to the Christmas turkey which I always think pairs well with pumpkin. The dish is called Sinkonta and is Turkish in origin, hence the use of Salca or sun-dried tomato paste, which is a staple in Turkish cooking – if you can’t source any just use normal tomato paste. This is incredibly easy to throw together (another bonus for Christmas day) and a large tray of this will feed a crowd as a side dish and will satisfy any vegetarians you may have around the table. I find the sweetness of the pumpkins against the savoury tang of tomato paste addictively good.
Ingredients – Serves 8 as a side dish Adapted from Rick Stein’s from Venice to Istanbul
1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into chunky slices – should be about 1kg of flesh
3 medium onions, halved and sliced
1½ teaspoons fine salt
6 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste, you can replace with normal tomato paste
12 turns of black peppermill
2 tablespoons plain flour
150ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
Heat the oven to 200C. Grease the base of a roasting tin or ovenproof dish and arrange the pumpkin slices in it. I used a shallow sided roasting tin and laid the pumpkin in a single layer.
In a large bowl, mix the sliced onions with the salt. Massage the salt into the onions using your hands, to break them down a little. Mix in the tomato paste, black pepper and flour, making sure that the paste and flour is evenly distributed, again it’s best to use your hands. Then scatter the onion mixture all over the pumpkin. Drizzle the olive oil over the whole lot and bake for 30–40 minutes or until the onions are starting to brown and the pumpkin is tender. Serve hot or warm.