Autumn is traditionally known as the pumpkin season, but apart from using it for Halloween decoration, I hadn’t really used pumpkins in my food that much as I always go for butternut squash. Time for a change so! I decided to try another risotto recipe as I only made 1 recipe before on my blog: Dragon Carrot Risotto from the movie ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. It’s still to this day my most popular recipe, but it’s not something I’ve made since moving to Ireland as it’s quite hard to find coloured carrots here.
Risotto does require constant attention so if you’re looking for a quick & easy recipe that doesn’t need you to stand by it at all times, this one won’t do for sure. When it comes to risotto you have to gradually add liquid to your rice which means you need to stand by it the entire time. It also in general takes quite a long time to make as we need to roast our pumpkin first before we can use it. It can easily be reheated though the next day if you want to make this into a two-evening dinner.
You can have it as is, or add some meat to it of course. We grilled some venison steaks to go along with it, but beef or lamb would go well with it too.
Serves: 4 people
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 250g chestnut mushrooms
- 100ml white wine
- 1 large onion
- 1 cube of vegetable stock
- 800ml water
- 175g risotto rice
- handful of watercress
- 150g goat cheese (if you are vegetarian, make sure it’s made with Vegetarian Rennet)
- 1 teaspoon of dried sage
- handful of fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut up your pumpkin into chunks (don’t go too small or they’ll burn, don’t make them too big or they’ll take forever to cook), and remove the pits and thready parts. Place them on an oiled oven tray in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Let it cool down a bit before removing the peel, to avoid burning you fingers. Meanwhile chop up your onions finely
In a pot, add water, stock cube and your pumpkin, bring to a simmer and mix into a thick sauce with a hand blender. Keep it on medium-high heat, as we’ll be gradually adding it to our risotto you don’t want it to get cold
Melt butter in a large frying pan and add your onion, cook for a few minutes at medium heat then add your rice followed by the wine and one ladle of the pumpkin sauce. Stir really well, then continue to let it simmer while only stirring occasionally. If you stir your risotto too much it’ll turn into a mush, which is what we want to try and avoid.
Once the liquid has evaporated, add sage, chili, chopped fresh parsley and bay leaf and add another ladle of the pumpkin sauce, and again, stir it in well once, then let it simmer and only stir occasionally. Keep repeating this process for about 20-25 minutes – until your rice is cooked. I would recommend you give it a taste after 20 minutes and see if you like the texture of it or if it needs a bit more cooking. You want it to still have a bit of a bite so once you reach those 20 minutes, only add half a ladle at a time to avoid overcooking it.
When your rice is about 10 minutes away from being ready, you can wash the mushrooms, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook your mushrooms. You can of course chop them up if you prefer, I only left them whole as it just makes it look better but the flavour won’t be different.
Once your risotto is done, add little dollops of goats cheese, a few pieces of mushroom and finish with watercress.
Optional: you can roast your pumpkin pits if you want to add them as well, I did this as well but actually didn’t like them in the end so took them back out