Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, Thanksgiving or for taking Cinderella home from the ball.
In short, they are one of the superfoods of the vegetable world.
So, when one arrived in my organic veg box nearly 2 weeks ago, I was very excited (I know, I need to get out more).
Not only was it a change from the usual root vegetables and salad leaves, I don’t normally find pumpkins in my local supermarket, unlike its relative butternut squash.
Plus, it was a lovely orange-red colour and very decorative with its sturdy appearance and little green stalk.
After 10 days as a decoration, I decided to cook it. And in one of my favourite dishes – risotto.
Making risotto is a labour of love, one of those times when you have to make sure all the ingredients have been prepped before you start, then turn off our phone, put on some relaxing music and get ready to stir.
I find making risotto very relaxing and it never fails to amaze me how lthe little, hard grains of rice can, in such a short time, turn into a delightful creamy mass.
But, you have to stir for at least 20 minutes without interruption.
I paired my little orange pumpkin with soft goat’s cheese then added some peppery rocket for this dish.
- 1 pumpkin, about 500 grams, peeled and cubed (you can also use butternut squash)
- 1tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 300 grams Arborio rice
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- 100 grams soft goat’s cheese, cubed
- handful of rocket, shredded
- Small lump of butter
- Heat oven to 200C, 180C fan, 400F, Gas Mark 6
- Place the pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet and roast for 20 mins. or until tender.
- Remove from the oven and put to one side.
- Heat the oil in a wide, shallow pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft.
- Meanwhile, bring the vegetable stock to boiling point and simmer over a low heat until ready to use.
- Add the rice to the onion and garlic and stir to mix everything together.
- Now, add the hot stock to the rice, a ladleful at a time, making sure the stock has been absorbed before adding the next ladleful. This should take about 20 minutes.
- Test the rice. It should be tender and creamy but still have some bite.
- Stir in the pumpkin, goat’s cheese and rocket.
- Add the butter, stir once or twice and serve immediately on warm plates.
I like to serve this with a simple salad of mixed leaves seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.