About Me

My photo
Emigrated from America to New Zealand and never looked back. Couldn't have asked for a better husband, family & life!

PUMPKIN RISOTTO


Risottos are always a bit time-consuming to make, but this one it certainly worth the wait. The pumpkin is roasted with olive oil & sea salt first, then blended into the risotto to the point of nearly dissolving into a smooth and creamy delight.

I must mention once again that prior to moving 'down under' pumpkin was never on my radar. It's not a popular edible squash in America and is generally used more for decoration where I came from. Some people to cook the orange 'jack-o-lantern' pumpkins in the States, but most who really enjoy their winter squashes choose a less stringy and softer fleshed variety (such as the Dickinsons Winter Squash used for American Pumpkin Pie).

Here in New Zealand, the staples are the whitish-grey crown pumpkins (like the one I used) or the long neck butternut squash. I don't think I have yet seen an orange pumpkin here except perhaps in the mini squash bins.

This particular recipe is one that I originally saw on The Cook And The Chef with Maggie Beer and I thought it looked really nice at the time, so I wrote down all of the ingredients quickly, so as not to forget, then managed to remember how to fix it (pretty much) as she did. There are a few differences though...I didn't have any verjuice (on the shopping list) so I used a 50/50 lemon juice and water mixture instead. I also added a bit of garlic and extra Parmiggiano Reggiano because I find that both risottos and pumpkin can be a bit 'plain' sometimes. I then added some lemon thyme from my garden which gave the risotto (and the chicken) a lovely flavour, so perhaps mine is even better than Maggies??? Well, just as good, anyway.

Does the type of rice really matter??? Yes, absolutely! Just as with Sushi or with Pilafs, the type of rice makes a huge difference. I never liked rice when I was growing up...probably because I hadn't tried anything but instant or mushy overcooked rice for the most part. I guess I am pretty picky, but my family eats well as a result.

Let's dig in!


INGREDIENTS:

1.5 Litres (6-6.5 Cups) Chicken Stock
1 Large Onion (finely chopped)
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
75 Gms Butter (approx 2.5 oz)
400 Gms (14 oz more or less) Pumpkin (cut into 2-4 cm cubes)

400 Gms (14 oz dry/uncooked) Arborio Rice
1 Cup Verjuice (or 1/2 C Lemon Juice and 1/2 C Water)
100 Gms (3.5 oz) Parmiggiano Reggiano Cheese (finely grated & FRESH)
1 Tbsp Lemon Thyme
1 Clove Crushed Garlic
Freshly Ground Pepper


DIRECTIONS:


Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).
Cut up pumpkin into 2-4 cm (1-2 inch) cubes and arrange pieces in a baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pieces begin to go brown and caramelize.

Once caramelized, add a few tablespoons of verjuice (or substitute) to deglaze your pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes before removing from the oven.

Save the pumpkin and the pan liquid (if any) for later use.

In a large chef's pan or other wide-bottom pan tha can hold 8 cups or so of cooked risotto...heat the oil & butter and start to cook the onions. Do not brown the onions, just cook until they start to soften. Adding a bit of salt now will help to sweat the onions.

Whilst the onions are cooking, you will need to boil the stock and keep it hot in a smaller saucepan until it's used up.

When the onion starts to go clear, add the rice and stir to coat well. It will almost look "glassy" and transparent on the grain ends when well mixed. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Now increase the heat and add the rest of the verjuice (or substitute) and stir until the liquid soaks completely into the rice.

Reduce the heat again and begin adding the hot stock to the rice pan one cup ad a time. Stir constantly and only add the next cup after the previous one has been absorbed into the rice. Repeat this until 2/3 of the stock is gone. This takes about 20 minutes - stirring constantly.

Now add in the pumpkin with any reserved juices, garlic, & thyme and then increase the heat once again.

Add the last 2 cups or so of the stock one cup at a time, as before and stirring constantly (about 10 minutes) until the risotto is smooth & creamy.

Taste for seasoning and check that the rice is cooked through.

Finally, remove from heat and stir in the parmiggiano and you are done!

You may wish to serve this with an extra drizzle of EVOO and cracked pepper, however I found that only the pepper was really necessary. I belive Maggie also topped hers with chopped parsley and more baked pumpkin pieces topped off with more cheese after that, but I prefer to keep it a bit simpler in my kitchen and it was really quite tasty. Even my picky daughter (who claims to hate rice) loved this one!

I also made a Lemon Thyme Chicken to go with the risotto and a bit of extra baked pumpkin I had. This would also be great with a fresh green salad. It takes a while to make, but it's SOOO worth it!

4 Thoughts & Remarks:

Arfi Binsted said...

Kia ora! Te pehea? Hope you're well. I just noticed that you're following my blog and that is just amazing! Keep in touch!

Cheers from Tuakau (have you been here?)
ab

Pam said...

Yum. I love pumpkin and risotto, so putting them together makes me very happy. This recipe has been bookmarked!

Cheryl said...

Looks good, I may have to make that, I love Risotto!

MaryBeth said...

I love Risotto and totally love pumpkin so I can imagine the two together is just wonderful.