Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Pumpkin risotto

1 large butternut pumpkin
olive oil
2 litres vegetable stock
50 g butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
350 g arborio rice
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
25 g more butter
2 handfuls finely grated parmesan
chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel and seed the pumpkin, and cut the flesh into 1 cm cubes. Toss in a large baking dish with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 200C for about 30 minutes, or until soft.

After you have got the pumpkin in the oven, you can begin the risotto. Bring the stock to a simmer in one pan. In another, large saucepan, heat the butter and a little olive oil and saute the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it softens. Add the rice and toast for 2 minutes, giving it a good coating of butter. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add a ladle of stock. Stir until the stock is absorbed (it should only take half a minute for this first ladleful). Then continue adding half-ladles of stock, stirring between additions until it is absorbed. Take care not to drown the rice at any stage.

How long you will need to cook the risotto depends on a number of factors, including the type and age of the rice, and how hot you have the stove. When we cook over a gas flame it generally takes 18 minutes from the first addition of stock; on an electric hob it can take up to 25. Twenty minutes is a good time to aim for. About 3-5 minutes before the rice is cooked (it will still be very slightly chalky), add the chopped rosemary and the roasted pumpkin. Continue to add stock and stir until the rice is just done, then add the rest of the butter, stir through, and put a lid on the pan and leave it to sit for 2 minutes. Then uncover, stir through most of the parmesan, and serve at once with lots of lovely fresh chopped parsley and a little more parmesan sprinkled over the top, and offer sea salt and pepper to taste.

May 2002

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