This risotto just pops into the Comfort Food category! It’s creamy, its hearty,and its meat free. During our time in South Africa I learned to appreciate the oh-so-simple-yet –flavour-packed pumpkins, specially the butternuts! It is such a versatile vegetable and affordable too.
What you need (serves 4)
– 450 gram any type pumpkin, I prefer the butternut.
– 4 cloves garlic
– olive oil
– salt to taste
– 250 gram good quality risotto
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– glass of white wine ( or 2, if you like to sip some vino while you’re getting comfy)
– about 1 litre of good quality vegetable stock
– chilli flakes, if you like
– fresh sage leaves
– 1 lemon
– 2 big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan.
Roasted pumpkin/ butternut
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
Peel and slice the pumpkin, place it on a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the garlic gloves too; don’t peal them as they cook so deliciously soft in their skin. Pop it all in the oven for about 20 – 30 mins, or until the vegetable is soft. I like to let it bake a little too long, when the edges of the pumpkin pieces turn a little brown, this makes it so nice and sweet.
While the pumpkin and garlic are roasting in the oven, you can start chopping the onion, small little pieces about the size of the risotto grains.
In a thick based frying pan, heat up some olive oil. When the pan has come to a medium heat you can add the onions for a gentle fry. Don’t fry them too hot, you want them to go glazy slightly brown.
At this stage you can add the risotto, give it a good stir for about a minute or until the edge of most of the grains have turned a bit clear.
Add the glass of wine, the acidity in the wine reacts with the rice to ensure the creaminess. When the wine has evaporated, this happens pretty quick, you can start adding the stock until the rice is covered.
Be sure to keep an eye on the rice, a good stir makes it go creamier and creamier. It’s about feeling and tasting, you’ll know when it’s cooked. You can always add some more stock when you feel it’s not cooked completely.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and squeeze the garlic from its jacket. Finely dice the pumpkin and add to the risotto. Give it all a good stir and check if the rice has cooked through. To finish it off, add some of the Parmesan and sage (and some chilli if you like) and a squeeze of lemon juice to add some freshness, stir it into the risotto. The rest of the Parmesan you can add to taste.