Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto

Yes, pumpkin again. But this time its fresh. I wasn't actually planning to make this risotto with pumpkin, it just sort of happened. You see,  I had made a mushroom risotto a few weeks back, and had leftover arborio rice. I wanted to make risotto again, but with a different vegetable. I looked up some recipes and butternut squash kept popping up, so I decided to go with that. I went to the produce truck to see if they had any, and they didn't. But they did have a huge hunk of sugar pumpkin, and I thought, 'pumpkin...butternut...their both squashes... this should work. And it did! The pumpkin lent a bit of sweetness to the dish, and the savory broth and salty parmesan combined to make magic once again.

I didn't actually use a recipe this time around, I just kinda took what was already in my head and ran with it. Cooking the pumpkin was the most difficult part, I did (kind of) follow a recipe for this but it turned out really soft and a bit oilier than I would have liked. The final dish turned out great, but as for cooking the pumpkin this way for another application...not so much.

Pumpkin Risotto
serves 4 as a side or two as a main dish4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 T oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
1 cup aborio rice
1 cup cooked pumpkin, cubed
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

1) Add broth and bay leaf in medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, keep broth at a simmer until dish is completed.

2) In seperate saucepan, sautee onion in oil over medium heat about five minutes or until translucent, stirring often. Stir in garlic, cook for three minutes more. Turn heat to high and add rice to pan, stirring to coat. Cook for two-three minutes more.

3) Season toasted rice with salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg. (remember the parmesan will add some saltiness as well, so go easy)

4) Add about 1/2 cup of hot broth to rice mixture. Stir frequently. After 2 or 3 minutes, liquid should be almost completely absorbed. At this point, add another 1/2 cup or so of hot broth and repeat.

5) Continue in this way until all broth is used. Discard bay leaf. Turn heat to medium and give rice a taste for doneness. If rice is not done (hard kernel in middle) add another half cup of hot liquid (water or broth) and cook over high heat until absorbed.

6) When rice is completely cooked, stir in pumpkin and parmesan. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve hot.

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