I halved a red pumpkin, scooped out the seeds and stringy stuff, anointed it with a little olive oil and some caraway and cumin and salt, and put it in a gas mark 6/200 C oven. While it was cooking, I chopped an onion and a clove of garlic, and fried them in olive oil until soft and golden.
The pumpkin was not quite soft after an hour. I turned down the oven to gas mark 4/180 C (high enough to continue the cooking process, but not so high as to scorch the flesh), and gave the pumpkin another 30 minutes.
I poured four ladlefuls of stock on to the onion and garlic, and brought the pan to a simmering point. I scooped the flesh from the pumpkin shells, added it to the pan with a little more salt, and simmered for five minutes. I blended the soup with a stick blender. I threw in some chopped parsley.
It was bland.
The next day, I reheated the soup with some more stock, garlic, spices, and a tin of cannellini beans. It was still bland.
The blandness of this pumpkin was, oddly, assertive. It was an enveloping nullity. Like a weak hi-fi component, or like a slow member of a walking party, it reduced its partners to its mediocre level. There is something depressing about that.
The same soup made with butternut squash would have been delicious.