10 Nov pumpkin risotto
Risotto seems to have a bit of a reputation as being difficult to make. In reality, it’s not difficult by any means but it is time consuming. However, we think a risotto is the perfect antidote to our busy lifestyles. It forces you to pull up a stool and stand by its side while it simmers and you stir. A rich and creamy risotto is always time well spent.
350g of pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
A knob of butter
100g bacon lardons
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
150ml White wine
1 litre of vegetable stock
200g Arborio rice
50g Parmesan, finely grated
Thyme, to serve
1. Roast the pumpkin with a pinch of salt, pepper and chilli flakes in the oven at 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4 for 35 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked through. Allow the pumpkin to cool before placing in a food processor and blitzing until you have puréed pumpkin. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this by hand with a potato masher or fork.
2. Heat some butter over a medium to high heat in a large frying pan and cook the bacon for 5 minutes, until starting to crisp up. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes before pouring over the white wine. Mix and bring to a simmer, cooking until the wine has evaporated. onion and garlic.
3. Meanwhile, get your vegetable stock ready by pouring into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat.
4. Now add the rice to the bacon, shallot, garlic and wine. Mix it well until the rice becomes translucent around its edges. Now it’s time to add the stock, one ladleful at a time. Stir the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is completely absorbed. Repeat this process until you have used all of the stock and the rice appears oozy and is just al dente to taste. This should take about 20 minutes of stirring.
5. When the rice is cooked, add almost all of the finely grated Parmesan cheese, leaving aside a handful for the finished dish. Now add the puréed pumpkin and mix really well until you have a beautifully orange risotto.
6. Serve with another sprinkling of Parmesan and some fresh thyme.
This recipe first appeared in Insider Magazine in The Irish Independent on October 30th