I get really excited about buying pumpkins – perhaps in part because they’re only available for such a short time. Their sweet, earthy flavour is a perfect match for risotto, especially when roasted and just beginning to caramelise. The addition of brown butter here gives a gorgeous nuttiness, while the sage gives a bright freshness and lift to the whole dish.
Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1 pumpkin (about 1kg unprepped weight)
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– 75g salted butter
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 leek, chopped
– 300g arborio risotto rice
– 150ml white wine
– 1.5L vegetable stock
– 50g vegetarian parmesan, grated
– handful sage leaves (about 10g)
1. Preheat your oven to 220°C. Wash the pumpkin and chop it into chunks; don’t bother peeling it – once it’s roasted the skin will come away easily. Place into a roasting dish with two of the garlic cloves then drizzle with olive oil. Season, then toss together and roast for 30-40 minutes, until beginning to caramelise. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, melt half the butter into a large pan and sizzle until it begins to turn a nutty brown colour. Finely chop the remaining garlic clove and add to the pan along with the onion and leek. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, until softened.
3. Stir in the rice, and allow to cook for a couple of minutes before adding the wine. Stir as it simmers, then add a ladleful of stock, still stirring to help the rice absorb the liquid. Continue stirring and adding the stock, a little at a time, until it has all been absorbed – this will take about 30 minutes.
4. Peel the pumpkin skins away from the flesh and discard. Use a fork to gently crush the garlic cloves and about half of the roasted pumpkin, then stir into the risotto along with the rest of the pumpkin and the grated cheese.
5. Roughly chop half of the sage leaves and stir them in. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and sizzle until it browns, as before. Add the remaining sage leaves and fry for a minute or so, until crisp. Remove the sage leaves from the pan and put to one side.
6. Drizzle the brown butter into the risotto and season to taste. Serve in bowls, with the crispy sage leaves scattered on top.