I love this time of year. Conor and Lucia have made their pumpkin lanterns and I never let anything go to waste. I make soup with the flesh that they have scraped out – which is also good with pasta. Sage is a herb that tastes particularly well with pumpkin.
This is a recipe that you could use any time of the year with butternut squash or with sweet potatoes instead of the pumpkin.
I mentioned recently how many butchers are making their own sausages and here is another chance to try some out. With colcannon, this makes a very tasty meal.
Colcannon is also delicious with any grilled meat or with Sunday lunch. I often use this onion gravy with roast meats or pork chops. Allowing it to carmelise adds great depth of flavour.
Penne with pumpkin, crispy bacon, sage and Parmesan
Serves four to six
4 tbsp olive oil
175g (175g) smoked streaky bacon lardons
500g (1¼lb) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and finely diced
15g (½oz) packet fresh sage, finely shredded
500g (1¼lb) penne pasta
50g (2oz) freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to garnish
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Heat the oil a large frying pan and fry the bacon for two to three minutes until crisp. Add the pumpkin with the sage. Season with salt and pepper and cook for four to five minutes, stirring occasionally until the pumpkin is cooked through.
- 2 Cook the penne according to the packet instructions, then drain and add to the pumpkin with the crispy bacon. Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste, then divide among bowls.
- 3 Garnish with extra Parmesan and black pepper.
Sausages with colcannon
Serves eight to 10
1.5kg (3lb) floury potatoes (such as Rooster), peeled and cut into chunks
8 traditional jumbo Irish pork sausages
225g (8oz) kale, finely shredded
2 scallions, very finely chopped
120ml (4fl oz) milk
75g (3oz) butter
Salt and pepper
Stout onion gravy, to serve (optional, see point 3)
- 1 Steam the potatoes until tender. Cook the sausages in a frying pan in a little oil or under the grill. Place a knob of the butter and a tablespoon of water in a pan over a high heat. Add the kale and scallions with a pinch of salt. Cover, shake vigorously and cook for 1½ minutes. Shake again and cook for another 1½ minutes, until the cabbage or kale is tender but still crisp.
- 2 Heat the milk in a small pan or in the microwave. Mash the potatoes and then beat in the butter with enough of the milk to make a smooth, creamy mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with the sausages and some gravy, if liked.
- 3 Stout onion gravy: sauté thinly sliced onions in butter and season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with a little sugar to caramelise. Stir in a spoonful of flour and then pour in enough Guinness or beef stock from a cube to make a thick smooth gravy.