Pumpkin Risotto

 A rich and creamy seasonal dish perfect for fall and a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving feast is Pumpkin Risotto. Make extra because the next day a risotto pancake (with a few sunny side up eggs) is amazing!! It takes a bit of time, but easy to make and gorgeous on your plate!
Don't believe the hype that you don't have to stir. You really do have to keep the spoon moving to massage the starch out of the rice to achieve a creamy constancy. It's worth twenty minutes of your time. Once you get it down, it's easy to become proficient at making risotto. Have fun, switch it up. The great part of this dish is that you can replace the pumpkin with any vegetable you like - try radicchio with a drizzle of aged balsamic from Modena for example.

Pumpkin Risotto
Risotto di Zucca
Serves 6

4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
3 big handfuls of diced pumpkin (about 3 cups or 400 gr) butternut squash or sugar baby
5 cups or so fresh vegetable or chicken stock
3/4 cup dry white wine
scant 2 cups risotto rice - Arborio or Carnaroli are best
salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese
sage leaf or tig of thyme (optional)
few tablespoons of cream (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan over low heat, add the onion & garlic and a little salt and pepper and sweat for 10 minutes or so with out browning.

Next, add  the pumpkin with a few spoonfuls of vegetable stock and cook them slowly until tender. Then raise the heat, add the rice and herb sprig and saute for a minute or two. Add in the wine and let it cook out but be sure to continuously stir.

Season with a little salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in another pot and check that the rice is now on a medium low heat. 

Add a ladle-full of the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it has been absorbed.

Continue adding the stock, a ladle-full at a time, constantly stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 minutes.

When the rice is al'dente, turn off the heat, add in a handful or two of graded cheese and give the rice one more stir, check seasoning. Rice should be thick & creamy but not runny. Cover the pot and allow the rice to sit for a couple of minutes. Make sure to remove the thyme sprig or sage leaf.

To serve, spoon the rice into the bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

If you like to make the rice a little richer, try adding 2 tablespoons cream at the point when the Parmesan is incorporated.  

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