Giselle’s Butternut Squash Soup.


About 1.5 kg cubed butternut squash.
1 large red onion chopped
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
200g pack (or thereabouts) cubed pancetta (smoked is my pref)
handful sage leaves chopped
1 hot red chilli finely chopped
*Optional – Parmigiano rinds cut into chunks.
Chopped fresh parsley.
Grated Parmigiano or similar hard cheese.
Single cream to taste. (About 150 ml)
Chicken stock. (homemade or from a cube or 2 …) made with about 1.5 litres of water.
More water to taste.
Seasoning at end of cooking, if needed.

To decorate: Fried whole sage leaves, crispy pancetta slices, Parmigiano curls and dry-fried pine nuts.


Roast cubed squash in a little olive oil and sprinkle in rock salt. About 30 or 40 mins on 200°c.
Meanwhile prep the rest. Make chicken stock if doing from scratch. If not, a jug with the stock made from cubes.
Gently sauté the onion, garlic and a minute or two later, the pancetta until onion soft and the pancetta cooked through but not browned.
Add the roasted squash, and stir. Then add the sage, chilli, Parmigiano chunks and stock. Add more water if needed. Bring to boil,then turn down and simmer for about 20 minutes or so. 

If you want a smoother soup, remove the Parmigiano chunks and blend now. Then add chopped parsley.
Add the grated cheese and stir through until melted into the soup. 
Turn off heat and add the cream. Stir through.

In a frying pan, sauté the pine nuts, put to one side. 
Add a little olive oil and heat up. 
Add the sage leaves and fry them a little on each side until slightly browned. Remove. 
Add the pancetta slices and fry until just crispy – once out the pan put them on kitchen towel, they will become crisper as they cool. 
Break into smaller pieces. 

Arrange your decorations on your bowl of soup and serve! Crusty bread is almost essential for mopping this creamy, slightly spicy, slightly sweet, utterly tasty soup!

Giselle’s Sausage and squash pie


3 Italian sausages, skinned and broken up.
1 large white onion chopped
2 large mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
about 2 cups of cubed butternut squash (or pumpkin would work.)
Chopped fresh parsley and sage leaves to taste (about a handful)
1 tin of condensed mushroom soup (the little tins that make double) no added water!
Little salt and lot of fresh ground black pepper.

Shortcrust pastry – I don’t need to write this, do I? I do half fat to flour with a little water or milk to bind – or sometimes beaten egg if I want it richer. For this recipe I had 8 oz flour to 4 oz of 50% butter and 50% lard and a pinch of salt.

1 beaten egg
Rock salt

Preheat your oven to 180°c or equivalent. 
Make your pastry, cover it and put in the fridge to rest.
In a big bowl put all the ingredients in and mix well. (All raw)
Butter & line your pie dish with pastry.
Dump all the filling into the pie dish and make sure there are few gaps (corners, edges …)
Beat some egg and brush the pastry edge with the egg.
Place you pastry lid on top and gently push down around the edges to seal.
With a sharp knife, cut the excess pastry off and then, using a fork, press down all the way around to really seal the pie.
Prick the top of the pie with the fork to allow the steam to escape.
Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with some rock salt.

Pop in oven for around 45 – 60 minutes ( I forgot to look!) Check and if the pastry is looking a little too brown, cover lightly with tin foil..

The photo was just before we ate it, so no time for making it look fancy, but we can both vouch that it was YUMMY!

Kim’s Pumpkin Cream Pasta with Crispy Pumpkin & Radicchio

Pumpkin Cream Pasta with Crispy Pumpkin & Radicchio


I saw a recipe for Sweet Potato and Crispy Kale and thought this would be good with pumpkin.  Sweet potatoes can be found in Italy, but it is very hard.  They are not grown here and would have to be imported.  Pumpkin on the other hand is abundant in Italy so I use it a lot as a substitute in recipes which call for Sweet potato.

Pumpkin Cream Sauce
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I roasted in oven then, put in a sieve drained the water, and mash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp of dry thyme or 1 tablespoon of fresh
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

2 tablespoons Romano cheese
Couple leaves of radicchio
1 cup of thinly sliced pumpkin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add radicchio and pumpkin slices, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons Romano cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat well with your hands. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing 1-2 times while cooking, until crispy. *when putting on sheet keep radicchio on one side and pumpkin on the other they might need to be removed earlier.  Remove and set aside.

Bring pasta water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions.

While they are cooking in the oven, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add in shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, cooking for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add in the dry thyme (if using fresh add later with the cheese). Increase heat to medium and add in flour, whisking constantly to create somewhat of a roux. Once the roux has turned golden, add in mashed pumpkin and milk, whisking to combine. It will take a few minutes of whisking to bring the mixture together. Let the mixture come to a simmer in order for it to thicken a bit, but be careful because it thickens quickly. If it becomes too thick, simply add a little milk to thin it out. Reduce heat to low and stir in Romano, remaining salt and pepper.

Once pasta is finished cooking, add the pumpkin sauce. Place in pasta bowl and top with crispy pumpkin and radicchio.

Adapted from

Louie’s Spaghetti With Sausage & Squash

I have been shopping in the winter squash section of our local grocery store this fall, trying all the new varieties they now offer and have enjoyed each and every one. Winter squash is so delicious and versatile and best of all it is very healthy for you too! For this quick and easy pasta recipe I used Blue Hubbard squash, but any semi-firm fleshed winter squash would work just as well. For this pasta, I simply cooked up sausage with garlic and fresh sage, tossed this with diced, roasted squash, and then tossed everything together with hot cooked pasta. I used Barilla Plus spaghetti for my version, but you could also use a short pasta such as penne or fusilli instead. This recipe is hearty enough to be a main course dish, and all you would need is some crusty bread and a nice mixed salad to complete your meal.

Spaghetti With Sausage & Squash

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

An easy fall pasta recipe for busy mid-week meals.


4 Sausage Links, Removed From Casings
4 Cups Diced, Peeled Squash
3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
Salt & Pepper
4 Large Fresh Sage Leaves, Finely Chopped
To Serve:
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Pound Spaghetti, or Pasta Of Choice


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Toss the diced pumpkin with two tablespoons of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
Roast until the squash is soft and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy frying pan and once hot add the sausage and cook until lightly browned breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.
Add the garlic, and chopped fresh sage, and cook an additional minute or two.
Cook the pasta in lightly salted water until “al dente“.
Drain the pasta, withholding one small cup of the pasta water.
Add the sausage and squash to the pasta, and toss well, adding about 1/2 cup of water.
Cook over medium heat stirring continuously to mix the ingredients well, allowing the pumpkin to soften and melt into the pasta .
Serve hot in individual bowls, offering grated cheese at the table.



Serves 6 as an entrée

3 tblsp EVOO 500 g butternut squash in pieces(3.5 cups)
¾ tsp Sea salt ½ tsp cracked black pepper
1 medium onion minced 4 slices Pancetta chopped fine
3 cloves garlic minced 2 tsp fresh chopped sage leaves
750 g Kale, destemmed ¼ cup water
and chopped 7 tblsp unsalted butter, melted
8 sheets of thawed Phyllo dough ½ cup finely grated Parmignon-Reggiano
1 tsp. finely grated nutmeg

Put oven rack in middle position and pre-heat oven to 190 C/375 F.

Par boil butternut for 5 minutes, drain and set aside. Heat 2 tblsp EVOO in skillet and saute butternut with a ¼ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp cracked black pepper. Stir and toss until butternut is brown and soft. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

To the same skillet add the remaining EVOO and reduce heat slightly. Add the pancetta, onions, garlic, sage, remaining salt and pepper and saute stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Add the kale and then the water, stir and cover with lid and cook until kale is just softened. Stir from time to time. When volume reduced , about 6 minutes cooking time, remove from heat and cool uncovered.

Brush spring form pan with EVOO. Unroll Phyllo dough and cover with clean damp dish towel. Work quickly by gently lifting 1 sheet at a time and gently pressing into pan with leaves hanging over the edge of pan. Brush generously with melted butter. Do this five more times rotating pan so that leaves do not align evenly.

Spread half the kale mixture on the bottom. Sprinkle over ½ of the grated nutmeg. Combine the grated cheese with the butternut and then spread over the kale. Cover with the remaining kale and sprinkle the rest of the nutmeg. Take one more sheet of Phyllo, fold in half and place on top of kale, buttering the top. Now gently fold back the leaves of the overhanging Phyllo leaves and brush with butter once more. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Cut in wedges to serve.

Kim’s Fall Muffins: Cranberry, Apple, Pumpkin, & Walnut

I just love fall an I love muffins so I decided to incorporate a few of my favorite fall foods apples, cranberry, walnuts  and pumpkins.  I am going to make Cranberry, Apple,  Pumpkin, Walnut Muffins with a Carmel Icing (dulce le leche).  The icing might be a bit overboard but it is optional.

For starters you will have to make up the apple sauce from scratch and the pumpkin cooked and squeezed.  When you have these made I took 2 cups apple sauce and 2 cups pumpkin and added 1 cup of dried cranberries to soften.

5 cups Flour 0 or all purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat germ (Germe di Grano, I found at Natura Si here)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Baking soda (Bicarbonato di sodio)
1 whole package of Lievito per i dolci or 2 1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tbsp of pumpkin spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) *this is if you like a lot of spices (cannella, chiodi di garofano, noce moscata)
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 325 F and line your muffin tin with wrappers or grease them

Mix in a medium bowel the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, wheat germ, spices) set aside.  Now mix up the liquid ingredients apple/pumpkin/cranberry with sugar, eggs, vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  Then add the flour mixture beat until combined.  Mix in the walnuts.  Pour into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.

They are good without, but when they are cool you can add the dulce le leche or dulce le leche mixed with some cream cheese (no added sugar).

Tina’s Roasted Pumpkin with Sage

Pumpkin or your favorite squash, cut into chunks (about 2 or 3 cm)

A handful of fresh sage leaves

olive oil


Preheat oven to 200C
Mix chunks of pumpkin with sage, a tablespoon of oil and a sprinkling of salt
Put the mixture into a baking dish
Roast for about 35 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. I like when the edges are quite dark and almost crispy – personal preference.

Enjoy with a bit of olive oil or some parmigiano.

Sarah & Karen’s Spiced Butternut Squash & Pear Soup

I have to admit I am cheating a little here. We had the most fantastic soup at our friend Karen’s the other day and as I loved it so much I am going to enter an adaptation of her recipe into the squash/ pumpkin competition (I’m sure Karen won’t mind!). We will certainly be making it many more times this autumn! It is delicious and light and creamy (even if you don’t put any cream in). Just amazing – and we would never have thought pears and squash go so well together!


908 g butternut squash
45 g unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 g minced fresh ginger root
6 g curry powder
6 g salt
750 ml chicken broth
200 ml pear juice
2 firm ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch dice
120 ml cream (optional)DirectionsPreheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane.

Place squash halves, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast in preheated oven until very soft, about 45 minutes. Scoop the pulp from the peel, and reserve.

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and salt.

Cook and stir until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Pour the chicken broth and pear juice into the pot, and bring to a boil.

Stir in the pears and the reserved squash, and simmer until the pears are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full.

Puree in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the cream (if used), and reheat gently.