Pumpkin, oregano and pistachio pesto

I’ve been eating a lot of pumpkin lately. It is the season for it, of course. As it happens I’ve also been charged with writing a variety of different recipes to suit gourds, squash and pumpkins. Those ideas were mostly destined for publications other than this blog. But I’m able to share one of them with you here – which involves an oregano and pistachio pesto, that worked well when liberally spooned over roast pumpkin.

There seem to be an increasing number of pumpkin and squash types available. I’m a fan, in particular, of delica and acorn and harlequin. But any type (including a basic butternut squash) would work perfectly well.

This recipe was originally published on the Borough Market website as part of my herb guide series. Check it out.

Pumpkin and oregano pesto

Oregano and pistachio pesto for your pumpkin

  • 20g oregano leaves (about 16-20 sprigs)
  • 2g basil (about 8 leaves)
  • 15g shelled pistachios
  • 15g finely grated parmesan
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons EV olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 800-1kg pumpkin or squash – delica, acorn or harlequin are good
  • 2 tablespoons EV cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • Ricotta or feta

Put the oregano and basil in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Pound and grind the herbs into a paste. Add the pistachios and bash those into relatively fine pulp. Now add the parmesan and lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the light olive oil. Stir with the pestle to bring everything together, then add the remaining light olive oil. Repeat, then add half of the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a spoon at a time, stopping if you think the pesto is already loose or peppery enough. You might want to add more lemon juice.

Cut the pumpkin into 1-2 cm thick slices. Toss in rapeseed oil and put in an oven pre-heated to 180C for 25-30 minutes, turning the pumpkin half way through.

The amount of pesto you make will be enough for this and at least one more dish. Consider using it on grilled aubergine, or in a feta and red pepper sandwich.