Caponata with Roasted Delica Pumpkin and Burrata
We’re welcoming back Martina from The Venetian Pantry, to share another seasonal recipe, perfect for an autumnal dinner party. Martina shares content of both her beautiful Victorian home in London and her tasty Italian recipes on her Instagram, where we are always looking for inspiration. We are delighted that she is sharing her delicious tried-and-tested recipes with us throughout the year – keep your eye on our journal for the next festive-themed recipe.
When it comes to cooking with aubergines, I think Southern Italians really do it best. Besides the more well know Parmigiana, Caponata has got to be up there with my favourite ways to eat this vegetable: a rich yet refreshing salad, traditionally served at room temperature.
On its own, this dish is a wonderful accompaniment to many things such as fish or meat, or simply spread over bread. But at this time of year, I love to pair it with burrata and Delica pumpkin – a gorgeous variety that is widely spread in Northern Italy from September to March. As the name suggests (‘Delica’ derives from ‘delicate’ in Italian), there is no need to peel its characteristic green skin, which is perfectly edible once cooked.
What I love about this dish is the interaction of all the ingredients: the tart and salty flavour of the caponata cuts through the creaminess of the burrata and works a treat with the sweetness of the pumpkin, creating a wonderfully balanced dish.
A few notes: I always like to keep things light and fresh, so I bake the aubergines (as opposed to the traditional deep fry). Season both the pumpkin and the caponata to your taste. You can replace Delica pumpkin with any pumpkin or butternut squash. And of course, feel free to skip on the burrata for a fully vegan version!
Prep time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
½ Delica pumpkin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 large aubergine
2 celery stalks
1 white onion
400 gr passata
40 gr capers, rinsed
60 gr green olives, pitted and halved
40 gr pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato concentrate
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan). Slice the aubergine in half lengthways, then into 2cm chunks. Mix the chunks in a bowl with coarse sea salt and let them sweat for at least half an hour.
2. Leaving the skin on, cut the pumpkin into thick half-moon slices (approx 2cm). Discard the seeds and lay the slices on a baking tray.
3. In a small bowl, mix the smoked paprika with 4 tbsp of olive oil. Brush half of the mixture onto the pumpkin slices.
4. Cook the pumpkin slices in the oven for approx. 30-40 mins, until both the skin and flesh of the pumpkin are soft. Take care to turn the slices mid-way through and brush again with the other half of the paprika-infused oil.
5. Cut the celery into 5mm slices. Parboil in water for 5 mins, then drain and set aside.
6. Rinse the aubergines thoroughly and pat them dry. Toss them in a bowl with an abundance of olive oil, then place on a roasting tray and cook in the oven until golden on the surface and soft inside (approx. 20-30 mins).
7. Slice the onion and fry it lightly in a deep-sided pan (for which you have a lid) with a splash of olive oil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 mins, until the onions become soft and translucent.
8. Add the celery, green olives, capers and passata to the pan. Let them cook together for 15 mins.
9. In a small bowl, mix the tomato concentrate, sugar and vinegar. Add the mixture to the pan and let it cook for another 5 mins.
10. Once the aubergines are ready, add them to the pan, along with half the toasted pine nuts and half the parsley. Stir well and leave to cool.
11. Caponata is best enjoyed tepid or cold, and tastes even better the day after! Serve with the roasted pumpkin slices and the fresh burrata on top, and garnish with a sprinkle of pine nuts and parsley.