Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Countdown #3

Pumpkin Risotto 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

     Creamy, rich, and luxurious risotto is a dish many people only enjoy in restaurants, but with a few simple techniques this classic can be created at home. This pumpkin risotto features the star ingredient in two ways by using roasted diced pumpkin  and puree. It is finished with nutty Parmesan cheese and sage butter to give it its prized silky texture and the taste of autumn.

      Risotto is made with Arborio rice which is an Italian short grain rice with a very high starch content. The basic ratio for using Arborio rice and creating risotto is 1 part rice to 4 parts liquid. The liquid is added slowly as the rice is constantly stirred with a wooden spoon to draw out the starch and create the creamy texture. Arborio should not be overcooked into a gluey texture though. The final product should have a thickness but also flow freely and the rice should be cooked through but still have a slight chew to it. The best way to test for consistency is to draw the spoon along the bottom of the pan, if the rice slowly flows back into the empty space it is perfect if it stays in place then add a little liquid to loosen it. With a little practice risotto will be on your dinner menu every week.

1 Tbsp Veg oil
1 medium onion, 1 cup diced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 cups Chicken stock or Vegetable stock
2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and 1/2 inch dice
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp fresh sage, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Then pour the oil into a deep saute pan and heat it oven medium heat. In a sauce pot add the stock and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
2. Once the oil is hot add the onions to the pan and saute until they have slightly turned golden and become fragrant, about five minutes. Then add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds
3. Add the rice to the pan and stir to combine with the aromatics and oil. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes until it gives off a nutty aroma.
4. Add the puree,1 cup of the hot stock,and the salt and pepper to the pan, stir to incorporate. Now that the first batch of liquid is in it is time for patient stirring. Keep the rice moving slowly to release the starch and absorb the liquid, cook until all the liquid is absorbed then add in another cup of liquid and continue until all the stock is gone.
5. After adding the first batch of liquid take the diced pumpkin and toss it in one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Lay it out in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. The pumpkin should be done about the same time as the rice.
6. By now the third batch of liquid should be ready to go in. In a separate small saute pan add the butter and melt it over medium heat. Once melted cook it for an additional 2-3 minutes until it begins to turn dark gold, add the sage and turn off the heat. Set aside for using at the end of the dish.
7. Once all of the stock has been incorporated into the rice it should appear creamy and thick. To finish the dish stir in the roasted pumpkin and the freshly grated cheese. Turn off the heat and add the sage butter, taste for seasoning and serve.

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