Recipe: Cershi (Garlicky Pumpkin Spread)

This recipe for cershi, a traditional Libyan Jewish dish, is adapted from Linda Hassan Guetta's La Cucina Ebraica Tripolina.

    • 1 whole orange pumpkin, about 1 pound
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • ½ teaspoon hot paprika
    • ½ teaspoon caraway seed powder
    • pinch of salt
    • juice of half a lemon
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Peel pumpkin and chop into one-inch cubes. Place in a saucepan with one cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the pumpkin is soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the pumpkin and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine garlic, hot paprika, caraway seed powder, salt, and lemon juice. Form into a paste and add the mixture to the cooked pumpkin. Stir in olive oil, leaving the last bit to drizzle over the mixture. Serve with couscous or toasted bread.

To read Katie's story about the cuisine of Rome's Libyan Jews, click here.

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Katie Parla is a food historian and sommelier based in Rome, Italy. Follow Katie on her blog, ParlaFood.com, and on Twitter at @katieparla.

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