The last time I ate risotto I was in Italy (and that’s a number of years back now) so I thought it was high time I made some. I love the creamy, mellow texture and taste of risotto. It’s a very adaptable dish – once you know the basics, you can pretty much add whatever you’ve got lurking in your fridge. I found this recipe from New Zealand born, UK based chef Peter Gordon on the website of The Independent; they sourced it from his book ‘Peter Gordon Everyday’ by Peter Gordon, publisher Jacqui Small.
I haven’t adapted the recipe, though I did only put in 2 teaspoons of soy sauce into my rice – I wasn’t too sure about adding a whole 4 tablespoons, but I’ll leave the recipe as is so readers can decide for themselves. The mascarpone was a lovely addition and I’d certainly recommend using it. Otherwise, don’t be shy about using loads of parmesan cheese as the dish does need the saltiness it provides. On that note, next time I might actually lay a few pieces of prosciutto over it when I serve it – they did this in Italy and I thought it not only looked fabulous, it really enhanced the taste.
PUMPKIN AND LEEK RISOTTO
Serves 4-6 (entrée size)
Ingredients: (click here for unit converter)
- 60g butter
- 1 handful sage leaves, torn (otherwise thyme, oregano or rosemary)
- 500g peeled and diced pumpkin (squash)
- 2 litres light vegetable stock (for vegetarian version) or chicken stock
- 1 leek, rinsed and sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 350g Arborio rice
- Optional: 4 Tbsp soy sauce, plus extra for seasoning
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- 100g mascarpone (optional)
- Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring it slowly to a gentle simmer.
- Cook 30g (that’s half the butter) in a fry-pan until it turns golden brown. Add the sage leaves and cook until they are soft. Add the pumpkin and cook over a medium heat, stirring to ensure the pieces are coated with butter.
- Add 250ml of the stock to the pumpkin and cook over a moderately high heat with the lid on until the pumpkin is almost cooked through, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and mash about a quarter of the pumpkin in the pot. Pop the lid back on to keep it warm.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan heat the remaining 30g of butter on a medium high heat and add the leek and bay leaves. Cook and stir until the leek has completely softened. Add the rice and a sprinkling of salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so that the rice doesn’t burn.
- Now pour in some more stock to cover the rice by 2cm, and turn the heat down so that the liquid is simmering gently. Let the mixture gently cook until most of the liquid is absorbed (you’ll need to keep an eye on this, as it cooks quite quickly). Stir in some more stock, then leave until it is nearly absorbed. Carry on adding stock as soon as the rice absorbs it until the rice is al dente (slightly firm in the centre). This should take about 12 minutes or so.
- Now stir the pumpkin mixture (both mashed and whole) and the soy sauce (if you’re using it) into the rice mixture and continue to cook until the rice is tender. Put the lid on the pot, turn the heat off and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Finally, stir in the Parmesan and mascarpone (if using) and taste for seasoning. If it needs it, add extra soy sauce or salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting