Casting around for a some different way to use my Crown Princes (see ‘Z is for Zucca Ivernale’), I found this risotto recipe from north Italy. You can use any kind of pumpkin, or butternut squash (which is more readily available in UK supermarkets). It will make you a dish to sustain body and soul.
Some say that Antonio Vivaldi was fond of this dish, so it would only be fair prepare it to the accompaniment of his Four Seasons: Winter.
- Pumpkin, or butternut squash 600g (or a bit more if you like)
- Onion, 1 medium
- Garlic, 1 large clove
- Oil (not olive), 1TB
- Butter, 1 thickish slice
- Risotto rice (sold as arborio or canarole rice in the UK), 200g
- Dried sage*, 2 generous pinches
- Marigold stock, 500ml
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Grated parmesan to serve
* I like sage, but if you don’t, use rosemary or thyme instead
- Prepare the pumpkin, or butternut squash. Remove the seeds, peel and chop into small chunks, a bit larger than poker dice. Steam until just tender – about 10 minutes. Drain.
- While this is happening, peel and chop the onion, and crush the garlic.
- Heat the oil and butter together in a saute pan. (The butter gives flavour, the oil stops the butter from burning – neat, eh?)**
- Gently fry the onion till soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
- Then add the rice and stir till the grains are shiny.
- Add 1 ladle full of stock and stir well to ensure that nothing is sticking on the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down, and continue to cook gently with the lid off, stirring from time to time.
- After about 3 minutes, most of the stock will have been absorbed. Add another ladle full of stock, as well as the steamed pumpkin and the sage. Continue to simmer and stir as before.
- Carry on adding the stock and cooking. You may not need all the stock, or you may possibly need more. Taste for doneness: you are aiming at a soupy consistency, but the individual grains of rice should have a bit of bite – al dente.
- You will notice that the pumpkin sort of disintegrates, giving the risotto a beautiful overall golden colour.
- Season to taste and serve in bowls with grated parmesan.
- Buon appetito!
**Thank you Mum for this excellent tip!