The best thing that can happen to a pumpkin is ending up as risotto! I have come to this conclusion when on a frosty winter eve my H2B surprised me with an amazing dinner. Ever since then once the pumpkin season is on, hardly any week goes by without having some tasty pumpkin risotto. Sometimes we prepare it as a weekday treat other times we serve it over a relaxed weekend dinner for family or friends. For quite some time I was only a kitchen-hand, since the preparations seemed rather complicated, a scary procedure from which it is hard to come out as a winner.
Then step by step I managed to get to the bottom of it and also realized that the secret ingredient of a beautiful risotto is having the right state of mind. When we find patience, meticulous care and the strive for perfect taste harmony in ourselves. The result? Some sweet indulgence of delicious and creamy bites, which brings sunshine to our kitchen even on the gloomiest day. It is the perfect winter food, since it is filling, though does not make you feel heavy, plus thanks to the pumpkin it is even healthy.
Ingredients (for 6 people)
Pumpkin purée: 400g butternut pumpkin • 1 sprig of rosemary • 1 sprig of fresh thyme • 2 generous tbsp of sour cream or cream • 4 cloves garlic • 200ml boiling water • olive oil • sea salt • freshly ground black pepper
Risotto: 400g Arborio rice • 1 Lt chicken stock • 2 medium–sized brown onions • 4 cloves garlic • olive oil • 1 tbsp of butter • sea salt • freshly ground pepper • 4 dcl white wine
Garnish: 40g Parmeggiano Reggiano • finely peeled medium–sized carrot • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped • splash of good olive oil and freshly ground black pepper
Pumpkin purée: After peeling the pumpkin cut it into square pieces, add rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves (with skin), add a good splash of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix ingredients in a dish and place in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a bowl, remove skin from the garlic, remove stems of rosemary and thyme, add sour cream and boiling water and blend together. This should form a nice thick puree of pumpkin.
* baking time: 45 minutes • temperature: 200ºC • preparation time after baking: 3 minutes
Risotto: After pre-heating the pan add olive oil, 1 tbsp of butter and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper. Then start frying the garlic on a very low–flame, and after 2 minutes add the onion. Once the onion turns translucent add all of the Arborio rice, turn the flame high and stir continuously to avoid sticking. After 1 minute the rice turns translucent (that means it is sealed with all the flavours), add all wine and stir occasionally until the wine evaporates. Once the rice turns sticky, put one–third of the chicken stock and add the pumpkin puree — keep 6 tablespoons of puree for garnishing — and turn a low–flame. Cook and stir continuously, and keep adding stock (in 3–parts) until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice. Simultaneously put a pan on low flame, season with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry the finely peeled carrot for 3 minutes on a medium–flame. Leave the carrots in the pan for garnishing. When all the stock has been absorbed by the rice turn off the flame and add all the finely shaved Parmeggiano and a good gulp of olive oil. Divide into 6 portions, and garnish with finely chopped parsley, fried carrots, and Parmeggiano shavings. Splash some of the pumpkin puree around the plate for extra palate, and add few drops of good olive oil.
* cooking + serving time: 40 + 5 minutes
PS: The most important part of making the perfect risotto, is when it becomes creamy. So it is best to eat it as soon as possible, while it retains its beautiful texture. Although I never complain even if I have to eat it as a leftover from the previous day.