Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Risotto

I love autumn in the Pacific Northwest. Leaves on only a few trees change colours in the evergreen state, and when you stumble upon one, it’s a treasure. Sunny days also must be treasured by pulling on a sweater and a scarf, taking a stroll, and soaking in the crisp chill of the air. But the rain provides a nice break, a chance to hole up wherever you may call home and cook, write, play music, read a book, or make art. So if you’ve ever wondered why the PNW gives birth to so many creative people, blame it on the rain. There’s also small local farms dotting the landscape, so on a sunny day, you might find yourself at a farm picking pumpkins. And the next day, when it’s grey and raining, you might find yourself making pumpkin risotto.

Pumpkin Risotto
1 small pumpkin (you’ll want 3 cups cooked pumpkin in the end) 
3 Tbs olive oil  
2 medium shallots (roughly chopped)  
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1½ cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine (warmed) 
3½-4 cups hot vegetable broth 
¼ tsp ground nutmeg  
salt and cracked pepper to taste 

First, roast your pumpkin. To roast squash, I cut the squash in half and scrape out all the seeds. Then, in a glass casserole dish, I pour a small amount of water in the pan so it just barely covers the bottom of the pan. I then place the squash face down in the pan and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Once the pumpkin is soft, let it cool and scrape about 3 cups of the cooked squash to use later in the recipe.

To make the risotto, heat oil over large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sauté shallots for about 3 minutes, add garlic and sauté for another 3-5 minutes. Add rice and stir about 3 minutes, so all rice is happily coated in oil. Turn heat to high and add wine, bringing to a boil. Simmer until wine has been absorbed (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly.

Add one-cup hot broth to the rice, stirring constantly until all liquid has been absorbed. Repeat, adding one cup of broth at a time until all broth has been incorporated. The rice should be creamy, but not mushy. This should take about 30-40 minutes. Add pumpkin, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir until thoroughly mixed. Cook and continue to stir for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.  

Brighten up your plate with some greens, pour yourself a glass of white wine, and enjoy!

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