Yes its Autumn! The winter squash I grew are all safely picked, cleaned and stored in and around the house. The windowsills, usually bare, are now “decorated” with the squash I’ve grown. They seem to store well sitting there all winter, and the bonus is that I can keep an eye on them in case any start going soft.
There’s something magical about growing pupmkins, I love the different shapes, sizes and colours. Watching them grow on my allotment from teeny plants with a couple of fury leaves, to bushing out and sending their vines out across the beds, and in mid August trying to peer under the canopy of the leaves to see what is growing under there. I guess I’m just a big kid at heart.
I love risotto, it’s hearty but not heavy. And the combinations you can put together seem endless ~ a bit like the different shapes and sizes of pumpkins. We buy our risotto rice via our friendly Italian Pizzeria, that way we can buy a 5 Kilo bag at a decent price instead of paying over the odds for a tiny packet from the supermarket.
I’ve made this dish so many times now that I can’t remember where I picked this recipe up from. The combination of Sage and Pumpkin is wonderful, it’s like that other great combo of Rosemary and Pumpkin, delicious!
For this risotto I’m going to use a Potimarron squash, a classic French pumpkin.
Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Risotto
- Approx 2 tbls olive oil, 1 for roasting and 1 for the risotto
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4 shallots, or a red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small pumpkin like an acorn style one, or butternut or any good dense pumpkin; peeled and diced into chunks
- Approx 4 oz or risotto rice (I measure out 5 small handfuls)
- 1 small glass of white wine (the cook may want some too!)
- 1 pint of vegetable stock (I use Boullion)
- A handful of fresh Sage leaves
- 1 tbls of butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Parmesan Cheese for serving
Notes ~ Extra boiling water may be needed if the rice soaks up the vegetable stock
- Heat the oven, on a medium-high (approx 170) and put a tblsp of olive oil in a roasting pan, along with the chunks of pumpkin. Cook for approx 20 to 30 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked and has a deep golden colour, but isn’t mushy or over cooked.
- Make the vegetable stock with boiling water in a pan and put it on a low heat. Using hot water for a risotto is much easier than using cool or slightly warm.
- When the pumpkin is nearly cooked start making the risotto.
- In a large frying pan or wok, heat 1 tblsp of olive oil, when hot add the shallots and garlic. Fry for a minute or two, until the shallots start to look clear.
- Now add the risotto rice and stir well, try and coat the rice with the oil. Fry for another minute or two and then add the white wine.
- When the wine has almost evaporated start adding a ladle of the vegetable stock, 1 at a time. and stir and cook the liquid off.
- This is the bit where you have to stand over the risotto and stir the rice, and keep adding the liquid a bit at a time. It comes with practice, and you start to know when the dish looks cooked. Try a piece of the rice, and see if it is cooked. I like mine slightly crunchy and al-dente, others prefer it softer.
- When cooked the risotto rice starts to fluff up and it no longer absorbs all the water
- I add the roasted pumpkin pieces about 5 minutes from the end of cooking, and mix them in well.
- Check the seasonings, I like to add some freshly ground black pepper.
- In a small frying pan, heat the butter up until it is melted and is really hot. Add the sage leaves and fry for a few minutes until they are all crispy, but not burnt!
- Add the sage leaves into the risotto pan and stir. You may want to add a knob of butter to finish the dish off.
- Serve with fresh parmesan
Gardening Notes ~ Potimarron – Cucurbita Maxima
Famous French heirloom for winter use ~ potiron means pumpkin and marron means chestnut. Chestnut flavour, stores well and has fruit of 2-3 lbs. Very reliable. 85-95 days from transplanting. I think it is a perfect squash to grow in a small garden or container. And is just the right size for 1 or 2 people to eat in one sitting.