Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin and Pea Risotto with Parmesan and Ricotta

Roasted pumpkin is not just my favourite way to have my favourite vegetable - it's probably my favourite food ever.

And I've had such poor versions of it when dining out that the only place I can guarantee satisfaction is in the Veggie Mama kitchen.

If I had my way, I'd eat pumpkin-flavoured everything, and put pumpkin in all dishes it doesn't usually belong.

Thankfully, pumpkin works exceptionally well in risotto.

Yum, right?

Risotto is super-easy, and just about every recipe you see will be the same. The only thing that changes is what you put in it. I just happened to have peas in the freezer and figured, "hey, they'll do", but it could have been asparagus, corn, red capsicum, anything.

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver's first book The Naked Chef, but I always tweak any recipe according to what I have in the cupboard, and whatever works for me.

Serves 6

1 litre stock (I used homemade this time)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 head celery, chopped
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
400g risotto rice (carnaroli or arborio)
100ml white wine
1 tablespoon butter, to taste
1/2 cup cream
Handful of freshly grated parmesan

1. Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it on a simmer.

2. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the onion, celery (I used celery salt instead), and a pinch of salt and cook the vegetables gently about three minutes. Add garlic and cook another two minutes.

3. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice. Turn up the heat, and don't leave the pan alone.

4. While slowly stirring, fry the rice. After two or three minutes, add the wine and listen to it hiss :)

5. Pour yourself a glass - there's so much stirring you ain't going anywhere.

5. Once the wine seems to have been absorbed, add a ladle of hot stock, and turn down the heat. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock once they are absorbed.  Don't rush this, or the centre of the rice granules will be hard and gross. Not a good look, particularly if you're trying to impress the in-laws.

6. After 15-20 minutes, check the rice. You want it soft and creamy. When cooked to your liking, take the pan off the heat and add the butter, cream and parmesan.

7. You want it oozing in the bowl or plate, so make sure you've added enough stock. Under no circumstances is it to be stiff or gluggy. ugh!

8. Top with freshly cracked black pepper, parsley and crumble some ricotta over. 

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