Lots of weather vocabulary in the Roman news yesterday. Allerta meto, emergenza, nubifragio; maltempo, bomba d’acqua sulla città. Stay home, said authorities. Severe weather warnings, schools closed, lots of rain, hailstorms and thunder. Shops are closed and shuttered, it’s very black out there, but I got home safely from work and am making pumpkin soup. As our windows leak in heavy rain, all the shutters are firmly down and I am watching the changing weather through the sheltered balcony door. This is our new bridge in Garbatella, just before the skies opened and I was absolutely drenched while walking home from the metro.
Fortunately I had pumpkin in the fridge, destined for a risotto with chestnuts, but now becoming soup. Rome is not great when the rain gets heavy; the tombini (drains) overflow, and are often full of leaves and rubbish. Not enough resources to maintain the old drains or prune enough trees, so piazzas flood, trees blow over, metro stops close and traffic slows to a honking, humid, annoyed tangle. Now that I am drying out in my pyjamas, with soup simmering in the kitchen, I am very grateful it has not been worse here.
Stormy day pumpkin soup
1 large leek
1 tbs olive oil
3 sticks of celery, with leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
800 grammes of peeled raw pumpkin, in large chunks
1 litre vegetable stock
4 bottom-of-the-fridge carrots, peeled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
handful of parsley, if you have some
1/2 tsp ground cloves, optional
1/2 tsp turmeric
Chop the leek coarsely, after removing base and an inch off the top, and washing and soil off. Sauté in a generous sized pot with the olive oil. Add chopped celery, cumin, then pumpkin, then stock, chopped carrots, salt, pepper and spices. I used cumin, turmeric and cloves this time, just to try. You might have another spice combination you prefer? Toss it all in the pot, no need to chop anything too finely as it will be blended later.
Bring soup contents to the boil, and leave to simmer for half an hour or so. Just enough time to tidy the kitchen, hang up wet clothes, draft a blog post and look at the rolling clouds a bit. I like blended soups, so I used my immersion blender to whiz it all together to a smooth soup, once the carrots had softened enough. Taste it: what do you think the soup might need? Today I enjoyed as it was: warm and slightly spicy, with an aftertaste of the cloves.
Hopefully everyone is not too pumpkin-ed out after Halloween, so I’ll bring a large pot of this soup to Fiesta Friday #41. Happy Fiesta Friday to all, and many thanks to the hosts!
Notes: I have an amazing pumpkin soup recipe somewhere, but could not find or remember it, so this was assembled from what was on hand. Normally I would add some chill flakes, a couple potatoes, cumin and something: ground coriander, possibly? Maybe some lentils…. but as I am home alone this week, I know I’ll reach pumpkin soup saturation by day three, so I did not want too much soup. This soup should freeze well, though.
At least I cooked something! When my husband is away (not often), I succumb to a no-cook diet of cereal, yoghurt and cheese & crackers. I must say, proper home-cooked food tastes amazing after a week of that. This time, since I cooked today, I have soup enough for dinner, and lunch, and dinner, and lunch…… Time for cheese & crackers after that? I may just forage for inspiration at Fiesta Friday. I already have my eye on chefjulianna’s Blueberry Rosemary Focaccia!
PS I posted this, and then read the Guardian, where this was published today: To cook or not to cook? A sensual pleasure for some can be plain serfdom for others — interesting reading.