Pumpkin is now in season and one of my favourite uses of pumpkin is to make risotto (traditional Italian rice dish). The pumpkin puree gives the pumpkin risotto a natural and beautiful golden yellow hue.
You can use any variety of pumpkin for cooking this risotto – my personal favourite is butternut squash! Roasting the pumpkin before cooking brings out the sweetness of the pumpkin.
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:40 mins
300 grams pumpkin flesh diced
1/2 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
8 sage leaves torn by hand to rough pieces
15 + 30 grams butter
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 stalk celery halved lengthwise then sliced thinly
150 grams unwashed risotto rice such as arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
50 ml dry white wine
700 ml warmed chicken stock or vegetable stock
30 grams grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
Arrange diced pumpkin one layer on roasting tray. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Scatter sage leaves over pumpkin.
Baked pumpkin at pre-heated oven of 200°C (392°F) for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Reserve 2 tbsp cooked pumpkin for garnishing.
Add cooled baked pumpkin into a blender with 3 tbsp stock. Blend until the pumpkin puree is of a smooth consistency, adding more stock if needed.
In a heated pan, add remaining olive oil and 15 grams butter. Saute the onions and celery on low heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Turn up the heat and stir in the rice for a minute until nicely coated. Add white wine and wait a few seconds; you will smell the lovely aroma of the wine as it sizzles and evaporates.
Add the first ladle of hot stock and the pumpkin puree. Stir continuously and simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, then add the next ladle of stock. Continue doing so until the rice is cooked with a slight bite in the middle, about 20 minutes. If you ran out of stock, use hot water.
Remove the risotto from heat and stir in remaining butter (cubed) and parmesan cheese. Cover with lid and leave the risotto to relax for a few minutes.
Season with salt (if necessary) and freshly cracked black pepper. Dish risotto onto a serving plate and garnish with diced roasted pumpkin, parsley and pine nuts.
Noob Cook Tips
Do not wash the risotto rice before cooking as it will wash away the starch.
Stirring the risotto allows the starch to be released and the flavours to be absorbed into the rice.