Baked Pumpkin With Sun-Dried Tomato Paste & Crispy Onions (Sinkonta)

Rick Stein's Baked Pumpkin with Sun-Dried Tomato Paste and Crispy Onions, inspired by his stay in Turkey, works well as a vegetarian main or a side to a meat dish.

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What a joy was Ayse Nur’s garden. I remember a huge pile of golden orange pumpkins in front of an old blue door,which I thought said it all about autumn in Turkey. The whole garden was a harmonious retreat from the busy outside world into flowers, pomegranate and lemon trees. Ayse cooked this outside in her garden bread oven, and I must say it looked almost too easy. She said simply that this recipe from her aunt was the most popular dish in her restaurant,Asma Yaprağı in the centre of Alaçatı, and on tasting it I could understand why. Delicious even when made with ordinary tomato paste rather than the sun-dried paste she was using, called salça.

Serves 4-8
Cook time: 30 min


1 kg pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into chunky slices
3 medium onions, halved and sliced
1 1/2 tsp fine salt
6 tbsp sun dried tomato paste
12 turns black peppermill
2 tbsp plain flour
150ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing


Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease the base of a roasting tin or ovenproof dish and arrange the pumpkin slices in it.

In a large bowl, mix the sliced onions with the salt. Massage the salt into the onions using your hands,to break them down a little.Mix in the tomato paste, black pepper and flour,then scatter all over the pumpkin.

Drizzle the olive oil over the whole lot and bake for 30–40 minutes until the onions are starting to brown and the pumpkin is tender. Serve hot or warm.

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