December 9, 2010

Pumpkin risotto

I made this risotto one evening when my husband was at class. I don't usually like to cook for myself and end up eating leftovers or something easy like a sandwich when it's just me. This night though, I was in the cooking mood. I decided to try to use up some more of my pumpkin puree and I've been wanting to try the mini-blue hubbard squash I had bought at the farmer's market. I also had some sage still lying around from Thanksgiving. I decided to make a risotto and to roast the squash and use it as my bowl. It was quite good and the presentation was lovely. The blue hubbard squash was also good -- not too sweet with a dense flesh. This recipe will make enough risotto to fill two halves of a medium squash and will feed two as a main dish with the squash bowls. You can easily double the recipe to serve more people. 

Pumpkin risotto
1 medium winter squash (mini blue hubbard, acorn, carnival, etc.), halved with seeds and strings scooped out
1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 tablespoons butter
extra virgin olive oil
4-6 sage leaves
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
about a shot of extra dry vermouth or white wine
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
dash of fresh grated nutmeg
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
about 2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with some olive oil. Place the squash halves cut-side down in the baking dish. Bake until soft, approximately 30 minutes.

In a small pot, heat the vegetable stock over medium-low heat.

In a large skillet, warm one tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add the sage leaves and gently fry them until they are crisp (carefully turn them over the cook both sides). Carefully remove the leaves and set them aside. This will provide some sage flavor to the butter and make a nice garnish. 

Next, add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the rice. Toast the rice for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add some salt and pepper and the nutmeg. When the rice is nicely toasted, add the vermouth or wine and stir well. Then you can begin to add the stock. Add the stock about one ladle at a time. When you add the stock, stir the rice mixture with a wooden spoon until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Continue to do this until the rice becomes al dente and creamy. Then stir in the pumpkin puree, the last tablespoon of butter, and the Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until everything is creamy and warm. Divide the risotto between the two cooked squash halves. Top with the sage leaves, some more Parmesan cheese, and some fresh cracked black pepper, if desired.

While eating the risotto, get some pieces of the cooked squash in your bites. This will provide another pumpkin flavor as well as more texture.

What was I cooking one year ago?: pecan pie

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