Pumpkin is a cornerstone vegetable in our household, despite the fact that it’s botanically a fruit. It’s pumpkin’s savoury flavours that make it a winner – as a wintery soup or in a big tray of roast vegetables.
Lolli REDINI Pumpkin Rotolo + 2017 Rowlee Single Vineyard Chardonnay, Orange, A$50
Co-owner/chef of Lolli Redini Simonn Hawke dare not take this scrumptious pasta dish off the menu. Her partner, Leah Morpeth always pairs a local chardonnay with it – most recently the 2017 Rowlee, a credible follow-up to the trophy winning 2016 vintage. The presentation is excellent with the open-faced rotolo draped over butternut pumpkin that’s spiced with mustard fruits, sage leaves, pine nuts and a rich amaretti burnt butter sauce. Shavings of truffled pecorino complete the heavenly match.
Roast Pumpkin, spinach and feta salad + 2016 The Boneline Pinot Noir, Waipara, A$39/NZ$30
I take a simple approach to this recipe. I dust the pumpkin with cumin before roasting and use an egg yolk-enriched version of a classic vinaigrette. I scatter a handful of pine nuts over the assembled salad to add a crunch. A rich white would suit – I tried 2018 Logan Clementine de la mer (a skin-contact white blend) and it worked well. However, as I live in a pinot house, I’ve chosen this fine-boned pinot from Waipara, New Zealand, its verve and energy mopping up the richness of the pumpkin, and its acidity in tune with the feta and the dressing.
Roasted butternut squash, sake yoghurt, sage, sesame, pickled ginger, Aleppo chilli + 2018 Farr Rising Saignée, Geelong, A$30
I keep raving about Yotam Ottolenghi’s food and enjoyed this dish at his Soho restaurant, Nopi, a few years ago. Nick Farr builds a lot of character and complexity into his Saignée (a pinot noir rosé); many would consider it a light red. However, it’s still a buoyant wine with a spiciness to match that of the dish’s ginger and hit of chilli. Please don’t over chill the Saignée, you’ll rob it of its juicy red berry flavours.
Moroccan pumpkin and almonds lamb shank tagine + 2017 Tinta Tempranillo by KT, Clare Valley, A$28
Andy Harris’ recipes have drawn me to North Africa, so I’ve adapted his tagine. I like slow-cooked recipes when I have dinner guests, as they leave me more time to open bottles and pour wine. I played around with a few medium- bodied, spicy reds, but Kerri Thompson’s Tinta came out on top. It’s not a particularly complex red but that’s often the point when matching food and wine. The Tinta’s modest tannins sit well with the tagine’s Moroccan spices, with the wine's refreshing acidity sealing the partnership.
Rick Stein’s Butternut Squash Curry + François Séhédic Brut Cider, Brittany, France, A$18
I’m often asked what wine to serve with a curry. My failsafe is a youthful semillon or a beer. Semillon’s low alcohol and understated flavours work well with the heat of a good curry as did the 2018 Audrey Wilkinson I tried with this recipe. I took a twist on the beer idea and tried a cider. A local drop, the Small Acres Cyder Pomme, worked well but this more exotic drop from Brittany won the day.
Pumpkin pie + Stanton & Killeen Classic Topaque, Rutherglen, A$38/500ml
I was in Sonoma last October in the run up to Halloween. Americans take it seriously and the pumpkin parks were enormous. Pumpkin/squash finds its way into Thanksgiving, too with pumpkin pie the go-to dessert. I tried my own version with a few fortifieds, settling on a muscadelle-based wine with more cold tea and toffee flavours rather than the fruitiness of a muscat. The Stanton & Killeen is a classic.
Yin and Yang
Roasting brings out pumpkin’s sweetness giving a ‘yin’ to its savoury ‘yang’ – the crunchy edges of the roasted wedges a textural bonus.