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Roast Stuffed Pumpkin With Gingery Tomato Sauce

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

There is something so magnificent about a whole pumpkin stuffed with jewelled rice, that it doesn’t really need too many side dishes to detract: its starchy interior means you can forgo potatoes or the orzotto; and the vibrant sauce precludes the need for a pile-up of condiments.

Obviously all pumpkins come in different sizes, and if yours is radically smaller (unlikely, I’d think, to be much bigger and still edible), here is an easy way to work out how much rice you need to stuff it: once you’ve sliced a “lid” off the top of your pumpkin and taken all the seeds out, put a freezer bag in the hollowed-out cavity. Now fill it with enough rice to come halfway up the cavity. Tip the rice into a measuring jug to see how much you’ve got, and simply use double the amount of stock to rice. If you’re boosting rice quantities, augment the other ingredients accordingly.

There is something so magnificent about a whole pumpkin stuffed with jewelled rice, that it doesn’t really need too many side dishes to detract: its starchy interior means you can forgo potatoes or the orzotto; and the vibrant sauce precludes the need for a pile-up of condiments.

Obviously all pumpkins come in different sizes, and if yours is radically smaller (unlikely, I’d think, to be much bigger and still edible), here is an easy way to work out how much rice you need to stuff it: once you’ve sliced a “lid” off the top of your pumpkin and taken all the seeds out, put a freezer bag in the hollowed-out cavity. Now fill it with enough rice to come halfway up the cavity. Tip the rice into a measuring jug to see how much you’ve got, and simply use double the amount of stock to rice. If you’re boosting rice quantities, augment the other ingredients accordingly.

Roast Stuffed Pumpkin With Gingery Tomato Sauce
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8-12

Metric Cups

For the Roast Stuffed Pumpkin

  • 1 x 3½ kilograms pumpkin (preferably French pumpkin / White Lumina or Jarrahdale pumpkin)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic (2 minced, 1 left whole)
  • 150 grams dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 good pinch of saffron strands
  • zest of 1 clementine
  • approx. 400 grams basmati rice
  • approx. 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

For the Gingery Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion (peeled and halved)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 x 3 centimetres piece of fresh root ginger (peeled)
  • 15 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 700 grams tomato passata
  • 500 millilitres water
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

For the Roast Stuffed Pumpkin

  • 7½ pounds pumpkin (preferably French pumpkin / White Lumina or Jarrahdale pumpkin)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic (2 minced, 1 left whole)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 good pinch of saffron strands
  • zest of 1 clementine
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups hot vegetable broth
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

For the Gingery Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion (peeled and halved)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 inch piece of fresh gingerroot (peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups tomato passata
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Method

For the pumpkin

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/390ºF. Slice a lid off the top of the pumpkin, and remove the seeds and fibrous flesh from the inside, keeping the top to put back on later.
  2. In a large saucepan (with lid), fry the onion gently in the oil until softened, then add the 2 minced garlic cloves, the cranberries, spices and clementine/satsuma zest. Stir in the rice, turning till it becomes glossy in the pan.
  3. Pour in the stock and let the pan come to the boil, then clamp on the lid and turn the heat down to the lowest it will possibly go. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the remaining clove of garlic in half and rub the inside of the pumpkin with the cut side of each half, then, using your fingers, smear some salt over the flesh inside as well.
  5. The rice stuffing will be quite damp and not very fluffy at this stage, but check it for seasoning – adding more spice, salt or pepper if wanted – and then spoon it into the garlic - and salt-rubbed pumpkin cavity and tamp down well. Press the pumpkin lid back on top and squeeze it down as firmly as you can (it will sit up a bit proud of the top).
  6. Stand the pumpkin on a double layer of foil, wrapping the foil 4cm / 2 inches up around the sides and scrunching it there, to keep the pumpkin out of direct contact with the water later.
  7. Place the stuffed, partially wrapped pumpkin in a roasting tin and pour in freshly boiled water to a depth of 2cm / 1 inch. Cook the pumpkin for about 2 hours by which time it should be tender when pierced.
  8. Meanwhile, get on with the Gingery Tomato Sauce.
  9. Take the pumpkin out of the roasting tin and let it sit for about 10 minutes before you slice it into segments like a cake.

For the sauce

  1. Put the onion, garlic, dried ginger and fresh ginger into a processor and blitz to a pulp.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a deep, wide pan, then add the onion–garlic mixture. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the passata and water to the pan, and season with the sugar, salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, at a gentle simmer, then taste for seasoning before decanting into a warmed jug or gravy boat and taking to the table, for people to pour over their slices of stuffed pumpkin.

For the pumpkin

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/390ºF. Slice a lid off the top of the pumpkin, and remove the seeds and fibrous flesh from the inside, keeping the top to put back on later.
  2. In a large saucepan (with lid), fry the onion gently in the oil until softened, then add the 2 minced garlic cloves, the cranberries, spices and clementine/satsuma zest. Stir in the rice, turning till it becomes glossy in the pan.
  3. Pour in the stock and let the pan come to the boil, then clamp on the lid and turn the heat down to the lowest it will possibly go. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the remaining clove of garlic in half and rub the inside of the pumpkin with the cut side of each half, then, using your fingers, smear some salt over the flesh inside as well.
  5. The rice stuffing will be quite damp and not very fluffy at this stage, but check it for seasoning – adding more spice, salt or pepper if wanted – and then spoon it into the garlic - and salt-rubbed pumpkin cavity and tamp down well. Press the pumpkin lid back on top and squeeze it down as firmly as you can (it will sit up a bit proud of the top).
  6. Stand the pumpkin on a double layer of foil, wrapping the foil 4cm / 2 inches up around the sides and scrunching it there, to keep the pumpkin out of direct contact with the water later.
  7. Place the stuffed, partially wrapped pumpkin in a roasting tin and pour in freshly boiled water to a depth of 2cm / 1 inch. Cook the pumpkin for about 2 hours by which time it should be tender when pierced.
  8. Meanwhile, get on with the Gingery Tomato Sauce.
  9. Take the pumpkin out of the roasting tin and let it sit for about 10 minutes before you slice it into segments like a cake.

For the sauce

  1. Put the onion, garlic, dried ginger and fresh ginger into a processor and blitz to a pulp.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a deep, wide pan, then add the onion–garlic mixture. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the passata and water to the pan, and season with the sugar, salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, at a gentle simmer, then taste for seasoning before decanting into a warmed jug or gravy boat and taking to the table, for people to pour over their slices of stuffed pumpkin.

Tell us what you think

What 7 Others have said

  • Lovely!

    Posted by heenamirza on 29th October 2013
  • I just used this recipe and it was amazing, loved it!!!!!!! Careful, highly addictive!!!!!

    Posted by violeta rice on 25th November 2014
  • I just served a modified version of this for my Israeli family and what a hit! Thank you. I included minced lamb and a pinch of cinnamon to the stuffing. I will definitely be doing this again!

    Posted by Joojo on 29th October 2014
  • This is simply gorgeous. I'm Armenian. So stuffed whole vegetables are a staple at our table. But, I was wondering if these beautiful fairy pumpkins were edible. Now I know they are! Too bad I have to wait til fall to make this.

    Posted by on 24th February 2014
  • Being raised Italian (my famiglia is from Lazio region) cooking with pumpkin (zucca) is very familiar to me. This recipe is genius as I love the flavor of roasted pumpkin, but stuffing it too is a whole new concept. It looks beautiful and I am sure it tastes amazing! A must try for the fall season, thank you so much.

    Posted by avenditti on 31st October 2013
  • Bless you! Now I can offer my vegetarian family members something amazing for Christmas lunch! I can't thank you enough. Lee - Queensland, Australia.

    Posted by Willthey on 1st November 2013
  • Hello from South Africa - I prepare a very similar dish here which is very popular, especially served at a bbq. I use a smaller pumpkin and use brown rice with a selection of peppers, mushrooms and onions and cook in the microwave. Just remember to pierce the pumpkin several times, with a steak knife, as deep as possible. Also, make the stuffing a little more moist. Cook on full power, starting for 30 minutes and then adding time as needed. Can be tested for "doneness" by inserting a knife. Enjoy.

    Posted by LynnHaupt on 29th October 2012
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