Autumn Eats: Pumpkin Risotto
Well hello there, fellow wanna-be chefs!
Just kidding, I don’t consider myself anything close to chef… not even a wanna-be. While I often enjoy having fun in the kitchen, especially using ingredients freshly harvested from the garden, nothing that I cook is anywhere near the level of difficulty that you find in cookbook dishes, nor does it have the same aesthetic appeal. Nor is it quite as precise and accurate, for that matter. It does, however, usually taste pretty darn good!
Since a lot of these rotund, orange balls are overpopulating the farmer’s markets around this time of year, I thought that it would be fun to cook up a super simple yet flavorful dish together: pumpkin risotto.
Ingredients (easily feeds two with leftovers):
- 1 small pumpkin, halved and de-seeded
- 1 cup of arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Generous amount of vegetable or chicken broth, I’ll leave that up to you
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Several “glugs” of white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small chunk of Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Lets get started!
Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Leaving the nutrition-packed skin on your pumpkin, cut each half into relatively small-sized chunks. The smaller the chunks, the more quickly your pumpkin will bake. Place the chunks of pumpkin in a lasagna pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with freshly chopped thyme, and dash with the desired amount of salt and pepper.
Cover with aluminum foil, and let the pumpkin cook for about 45 minutes or until easily poked with a fork. Once the flesh is soft and easily mushed, you can get started with mashing. You can use a potato masher, fork, or any other fun method you can think of… but meanwhile, while the pumpkin is in the oven cooking…
Get started with the somewhat slow process of cooking your rice. First things first, you’re going to want to melt your butter in a pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted, pour in your rice and coat evenly. When the rice has become somewhat translucent (after about 3 minutes of stirring), you can add a few “glugs” of white wine. Stir the rice often while it continues to cook and absorb the wine. During this initial cooking period, you can get your broth heated up in a separate pot.
After the wine has been pretty much fully absorbed, you can add a ladle-full of broth. Continue to stir your rice as it absorbs the broth. Once the liquid has cooked down, add another ladle-full of broth. Continue this process for about 20-25 minutes until your rice is cooked to your particular liking (some like it a bit more “al dente” while others like it ooey-gooey). Feel free to keep taking bites until you’re satisfied with the consistency.
Once the rice is done, grate your cheese and stir it into the rice. Now it’s time to add the mashed up pumpkin matter! Go ahead and stir in as much (or as little) as you’d like. Sprinkle with a little extra chopped thyme as a garnish, and you’re good to go!
This is a great autumnal side dish that accompanies many main courses wonderfully… especially roasted chicken with herbs. Yum!
Everyone makes a big to-do about risotto, but it’s really quite easy… it’s just a matter of sticking around and stirring regularly. The end result is so worth it. Whether you dress it up with mushrooms, spinach, butternut squash or pumpkin, it makes for a nutritious and delicious addition to any fall feast.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you on Monday! :)