Pumpkin is probably one of the most time-consuming vegetables to prepare but one of the most rewarding when cooked well. I love winter when all the different varieties of pumpkin start to emerge, and immediately my imagination starts to conjure up the aroma of warm roast pumpkin salads and rich pumpkin soups.
As this is a classic risotto, keep in mind that there will be a fair bit of time spent standing by the stove idly stirring the rice. I recommend putting on some music to while away the time… I’ve recently been listening to a lot of Janelle Monae on my Spotify lately. If you want to find me on Spotify, to see what I’ve been dancing along to in the kitchen, you can find me here.
To serve two to three people, you will need:
- Half a kilo of butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces;
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil;
- Pinch dried chilli flakes;
- 750ml (3 cups) chicken or vegetable stock;
- 25g butter;
- One medium onion, chopped finely;
- 1 clove garlic, chopped finely;
- 1 cup (200g) arborio rice;
- 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine;
- Small handful fresh sage leaves;
- One heaped tablespoon cream cheese;
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese;
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Combine the pumpkin and a tablespoon of the oil on a large foil-lined oven tray. Season with salt. Roast 25 minutes or until tender and lightly brown. Sprinkle with chilli.
Reserve one third of the pumpkin and cover to keep warm. Divide the remaining pumpkin in half and mash one half in a small bowl.Leave the remaining on the tray for later.
Meanwhile, bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based deep frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring for five minutes until soft. Add the garlic and rice, stir to coat well in the butter as this will form a seal around each grain of rice to keep it from becoming soggy.
Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Add a half cup of the hot stock to the rice mixture. Cook, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, half a cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until half of the stock has been added. Stir in both the mashed and un-mashed pumpkin (left on tray). Then continue adding the stock, half a cup at a time, stirring and stirring after each addition, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. This can take anywhere between 20 minutes to 40 minutes depending on your stovetop heat, frying pan, etc. But a risotto should never be rushed, so be patient!
Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan over high heat and fry the sage leaves for about 20 seconds or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towelling.
Remove the risotto from heat and stir in the dollop of cream cheese and grated Parmesan. Season to taste. Serve topped with the reserved pumpkin, pine nuts and sage. Top with more Parmesan if desired… ❤