Risotto with Pumpkin Recipe
Ingredients (for 5 people):
- 400 grams Carnaroli rice
- 300 grams pumpkin (already cleaned)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 liter hot vegetable broth
- 1 medium sized white onion
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- black pepper
First of all, clean the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and the skin and cut it in small cubes. Place it in a large pan with 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let it cook slowly and covered until fork tender. Eventually, if it gets too dry and it sticks in the pan, add some tablespoons of water.
Once the pumpkin is ready, start preparing the risotto. In a pot lightly fry the chopped onion in 1-2 tablespoons of butter. The onion must become tender and not crunchy, so keep the heat low. At this point, add the rice; here the moment called "tostatura" starts: the rice is toasted in the onion and butter at high heat for some minutes, until its grains get brighter. Keep stirring the rice with a wooden spoon in order that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and get burned. This moment is very important as a good "tostatura" keeps the rice "al dente" and the grains well separated during the cooking, without overcooking.
Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Then turn the heat low and start adding the hot vegetable broth. Always pour it a little at a time, stirring continuously and adding the next as the rice absorbs it and gets drier. Halfway through cooking, after 6-7 minutes, add as well the pumpkin previously cooked, leaving a little quantity apart (about 1/4 of it). Keep stirring and adding the broth in order that rice never gets too dry. Time of cooking depends on the rice type and brand (usually at least 15-16 minutes), but the best way to know when it is ready is to taste it! Turn off the fire a couple of minutes before rice is cooked. Add the remaining butter and a good handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lightly stir and cover. Keep there for 2-3 minutes: this time will bring the rice to the perfect cooking and will make it "mantecare", which means becoming creamy and of the right risotto texture.
Serve immediately, ending each dish with a spoon of the remained pumpkin as a decoration, some grounded black pepper and some more grated parmigiano.
After learning about traditional balsamic vinegar in this month's issue, you can try and taste the balsamic you have purchased on your homemade risotto! The combination of pumpkin and good balsamic vinegar is one of our favorites!
Final notes and ideas:
- by tradition, butter is always a basic ingredient of risotto as it makes it creamy and gives it its characteristic delicate flavor. However, if you prefer not to use butter, you can substitute it with extra virgin olive oil. The texture will be different than using butter, but for sure it will make the dish lighter and healthier.
- pumpkin is one of the hundreds of ingredients you can put in your risotto. Great thing about preparation of risotto is that the base of the recipe is always the same and you just need to change the ingredient to vary your risotto flavor. So you can keep this recipe as a base for any of your favorite risotto: porcini mushrooms, spinach, saffron, radicchio, artichokes, asparagus or other ingredients you prefer. Follow the recipe as explained here and substitute the pumpkin with the ingredient you have chosen. No matter which risotto flavor you pick, you need to have any ingredient cooked before adding it to the risotto.
- you need a high quality rice to make your risotto. Carnaroli is definitely one of the best types you can choose to make a great risotto, but you can use as well "arborio" or "Vialone Nano" as great alternatives.
- in Italy first courses are served on their own and never with other side dishes as it is very important to have your pasta al dente and still warm when you eat it. Even for risotto this is necessary, so not only we suggest you to have it on its own and not accompanied with salad or other courses, but overall serve and eat it immediately after cooking. So when at home we make risotto we prepare in advance the table and 5 minutes before it is ready we get all ready in the kitchen!