Thursday, 25 February 2016

Foodie Reads 2016: The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena Di Blasi - Whole Roasted Cheese and Wild Mushroom-stuffed Pumpkin

Every week on a Thursday evening, a group of four Italian rural women gather in a derelict stone house in the hills above Italy’s Orvieto. There – along with their friend, Marlena – they cook together, sit down to a beautiful supper, drink their beloved local wines, and talk.

This is the second book about Italy that I have read so far this year. I found this one a bit rambling and confusing. It is apparently a memoir but it reads more like fiction, the characters don't feel quite convincing as real people. It's also not very fast paced so might be good to take on holiday.

There is a section of recipes in the back of the book and I went for the Whole Roasted Cheese and Wild Mushroom-stuffed Pumpkin. I made a mini version and stuffed a small squash. It was delicious and after taking a while to cut some of the flesh out of the squash actually really easy to make. I can see how it would make a good sharing dish if done in a whole pumpkin.

Whole Roasted Cheese and Wild Mushroom-stuffed Pumpkin
(from The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club)

1 large pumpkin
105g butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
300g mushrooms
salt and pepper
720g mascarpone
300g emmental cheese, grated
100g Parmesan, grated
3 eggs, beaten with 80ml cognac
2 tsp nutmeg, grated
8 slices day-old bread, cut into 2cm squares

Slice the top of the top of the pumpkin, remove the seeds and strings, then carve away a cm or so of its interior flesh with a thin, sharp knife. Cut the flesh into small chunks and set aside.

In a medium frying pan, melt 45g of butter and saute the onions, reserved pumpkin flesh and mushrooms until they are soft. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the cheeses, eggs and cognac and nutmeg. Beat with a wooden spoon and then stir in the onions, pumpkin and mushroom mixture.

Melt 60g butter in a frying pan and brown the bread, tossing the pieces about until they are golden and crispy.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Place the pumpkin in a large heavy baking dish or baking tray. Spoon 1/3rd of the cheese mixture into the pumpkin, add half the bread, another third of the mushroom mixture, the remaining bread and then the last of the mushroom mixture. Put the top back on the pumpkin and roast for 1 1/2 hours until the pumpkin flesh is soft.

Serve cut into chunks.


  1. That recipe sounds like it would be very good.

  2. Oh, it's too bad that the book wasn't super awesome, but at least your stuffed squash turned out well. I'm bookmarking this recipe to try out next autumn -- we're planting squash in the garden this year.

  3. I read A Thousand Days in Venice by this author and really enjoyed it. I'm sorry this one was not as good. Thanks for sharing