Oven-baked butternut stuffed with rice, orzo, lemon and herbs
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tam West
Smaller butternut pumpkins make perfect individual servings that will cook evenly. Allow about 350g per serving.
- Heat the oven to 190C.
- Cut butternut pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper, allowing plenty of overhang. Place pumpkin in, cut-side down, and wrap to make a well-sealed parcel. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, place the jasmine rice and orzo in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to arrest cooking. Drain.
- Place the butter in a small heavy-based frying pan and place over a low heat to melt. Add the leek and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then add the cooked rice and orzo, creme fraiche, lemon zest and juice and chopped parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Remove pumpkin from the oven. Heat the grill until hot. When the grill is hot, carefully open up the baking paper (watch out for hot steam). Turn butternut pumpkin over and pile the rice and orzo filling into the cavity and along the pumpkin flesh. Tuck as much of the baking paper as you can under the butternut pumpkin to prevent it burning. Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Place under the grill and grill until the cheese is golden and the filling hot.
- Serve with steamed green vegetables and plenty of lemon wedges for squeezing over.