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Spicey Pumpkin Risotto

This risotto is adapted from recipes by Jamie Oliver and Antonio Carluccio and was demonstrated on the cooking stage at the ABC Gardening Australia Expo in March 2010.

The best pumpkin for this recipe is Franchi's marina di Chioggia, with its dense orange flesh and sweet flavour. Butternut is a good alternative. As with most pumpkin dishes, the flavour is improved by a preliminary roasting that caramelises cut edges and reduces it's moisture content. In this recipe,  the pumpkin is roasted with the addition of some spices and then incorporated into the risotto.

For 6 servings.

Roasting the Pumpkin

1.5kg good quality pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1.5cm dice. Marina di Chioggia is difficult to peel so cut into wedges with the skin on and gouge out the flesh after cooking.

2 tsp each of coriander seed and dried oregano

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

dried red chilli to taste

1/2 tsp salt and same of freshly ground pepper

1 clove garlic

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Pound the dried spices in a pestle and mortar and then add the garlic and continue to pound to form a rough paste. Add some olive oil and mix and then add to the pumpkin in a bowl and mix well to coat each piece in a little of the spice mixture. Add more oil if necessary.

Cook in a baking tray in one layer in a preheated 200 degree oven for 30 mins until tender and the pumpkin pieces have browned edges. Remove and set aside.

Making the Risotto

1 litre good vegetable or chicken stock maintained at a low simmer, plus some boiling water if needed.

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tender sticks of celery, finely chopped

400g risotto rice

100ml dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

70g unsalted butter, or less to your taste

110g freshly grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and add the onion, garlic and celery and cook slowly for about 15 mins to soften but not colour. Add the rice and increase the temperature and cook gently, stirring for about a minute and then add the wine and stir until it has evaporated/been absorbed by the rice. lower the heat to keep the risotto at a moderate simmer and add the hot stock gradually (half a cup at a time) stirring after each addition until it is absorbed before adding more. keep cooking, stirring and adding stock for 15-20 mins until the rice is soft but still has resistance to the bite (al dente).

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan and put aside covered for 2 minutes before serving.

Eat with Gusto