It’s pumpkin season! Same as last year, we are enjoying including this tasty and healthy vegetable to our meals.
This time I want to share a risotto recipe with you. Actually, it’s my first risotto that I post on my blog! I made it just recently with homemade dry cured sausage from Saracena, in order to intensify the flavor. That was my first time, which explains why I was even more surprised about the outcome. You know, that satisfying feeling when you see that your new recipe or let’s say experiment worked out great!
So last weekend when I visited my family, I cooked it for them. And let me tell you,whatever dish I make for them, has to undergo the ‘strict’ jury made of my parents and brother :) The seasoning has to be perfect (although an Italian mamma will always find a reason to add that extra pinch of salt, or pepper), the taste has to be better than average, in order to pass as a recipe to be made again soon. And to my satisfaction and astonishment, they liked it! Yippie!
Having a brother who is a chef can be valuable and stressful at times. Valuable because it is simply awesome to know that I can always ask him whenever I have food-related questions. Stressful, because he can be very precise and strict regarding my cooking skills. One of the most common comments he would make is “You should pay more attention when I show and explain to you something.” Oh well… That is actually true.
So, I popped the question: “Now that you ate my risotto, do you think I should post it on my blog?” And I got the response I expected: “Well, I mean, yeah of course you could post it like that..but..I would give that recipe a little twist. Why don’t you try this…and….and…?”
What can I say. His recommendations were really intriguing, so I went ahead and added that twist he was talking about. And I loved the outcome! The flavorful creaminess combined with the sweetness of the caramelized balsamic vinegar turn this risotto into a delicious culinary treat that you don’t wanna miss this fall!
Happy Pumpkin Season!
- 250 g / 8¾ oz of risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 350 g / 12½ oz of pumpkin / hokkaido squash
- 3 tbsp of chopped bacon or dry cured Italian sausage
- approx. 1 l / 34fl oz of vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
- 2 flakes of butter
- 2 shots of white wine
- 4 tbsp of (extra-virgin) olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- Cut the pumpkin that you will use into two parts.
- Clean the outside and leave the skin on one part. Remove the seeds.
- Peel the other half. Remove the seeds and cut into little dices.
- Lay both on a baking paper covered baking sheet and bake for 20-30min in the preheated oven at 180°C / 356°F. (Depending on the size of the dices you might have to take them out a little earlier.)
- In the meantime pour 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot at medium to high heat. Add the chopped onion and bacon. Roast for a few minutes.
- Add the rice. Stir well for about 1-2 min.
- Stir in the white wine. Keep stirring until it has evaporated.
- Reduce to low to medium heat.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, bit by bit. Stir once in a while. Make sure that the rice does not stick to the pot. (Note: If you don't want to stay by the stove during the whole cooking process, you can add half of the vegetable stock at a time, stir once, and let it simmer. As soon as the liquid has evaporated, go ahead and add more.)
- Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- As soon as the pumpkin is tender, remove from the oven.
- Scrape out the pumpkin meat of the skin and mash (or blend).
- Season the mashed and diced pumpkin with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with olive oil.
- Stir in the mashed pumpkin into the risotto.
- Add the diced pumpkin.
- Add more vegetable stock, if necessary. (You want a creamy texture. Not too watery, not too dry.)
- While the risotto simmers (approx. 15-20 min), you can prepare the caramelized balsamic vinegar.
- Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small pot at medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Let it simmer for a few minutes only. Remove from the stove. (When it cools off it might get very thick. In that case, right before you need it, add a little water, heat again and stir, until it gets creamy again.)
- Remove the pot from the stove. Add quickly 2 flakes of butter and the grated parmesan cheese. Stir well.
- Serve and sprinkle with the caramelized balsamic vinegar.
- You can replace the bacon with dry cured sausage. If you have a chance to find 'sopressata' (a kind of dry Italian sausage), the flavor will be even more intense. They all work fine!