As the leaves and the weather turn, we turn to dishes that embrace the best produce of the season.
With summer's bounty - tomatoes, stone fruits and mangoes quickly becoming a distant memory, we look to autumn fruit and veg to inspire. Essteele has looked at three popular Italian autumn dishes from three regions of Italy.
From Puglia, Italy: Soup with Pumpkin and Barley
This soup originated in the Puglia region in Italy's east where barley is grown.
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 200 grams pumpkin
- 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized carrot, finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- Parsley to serve
- Soak the barley in water overnight, or for a few hours minimum.
- After soaking, rinse the barley with cold water. Boil the barley in a saucepan on the stove in 4-5 cups of water until al dente. Drain when cooked and set aside.
- Cut the pumpkin into small dice.
- Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Saute the pumpkin in oil until it begins to soften, add a few ladles of stock until cooked through. Keep warm.
- Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a stockpot on medium heat, add the celery, carrot, garlic and onion, sauté until the onion is translucent.
- Add the cooked pumpkin and the remaining vegetable stock, bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Mash or use a stick blender to puree the mixture into a thick soup. Add the barley, stir through. Add parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with toasted slices of bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
This soup is perfect to serve as a lunch, or serve as an entrée.