|Photo courtesy of La Vita Saporita|
The first runner-up to that other amazing risotto is this lovely bowl of deliciousness.
Although I normally reserve pumpkin-related stuff for the Fall, this weather has been so bizarrely autumnal recently, we decided to celebrate instead of curse it. It actually turned out to be a much lighter dish than I expected, so it's perfect for Spring as well.
I'm happy to report that the same taste-tester who stuck his head in this other pot of gooey goodness was caught sneaking the pot into the kitchen yet AGAIN. Super score!
Recipe courtesy of La Vita Saporita
1/2 cup olive oil
1-4 shallots (or 1 onion), chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small bunch Italian (flat) parsley, chopped
1-1/2 cups pumpkin, cubed (500g/1lb)
2 cups risotto rice (300g)
1 cup vino bianco (white wine)
5-6 cups (1.5L) vegetable broth
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable broth.
In a separate, heavy-bottomed saucepan, start by making your soffritto. This is the base for every good risotto. Heat the butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots (or onion) and the sea salt - this will help onion soften the onion without browning to keep the flavor delicate. Add the sugar and cook for 3-5 mins. Add the garlic and half the parsley and cook another 3-4 mins, stirring frequently.
Next, add the pumpkin and cook until fork-tender. This could take anywhere form 5-20 minutes, depending on the pumpkin. If it starts to stick, add a few spoons of stock to keep everything loose.
When you can cut through the pumpkin with the side of your wooden spoon, add the rice and saute for 1-2 minutes until the rice is well coated and slightly toasted.
When the rice is slightly translucent or spotted turn up the heat to high and stir for about 30 seconds to keep it from burning before adding the white wine - it should make that great sizzling sound and begin to evaporate immediately.
Then turn the heat back to medium and continue cooking (and stirring) until the wine has evaporated. Add enough stock to cover the rice completely and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Add one cup at a time of the remaining stock, and keep stirring until it is absorbed again. It is this act of constant stirring that gives risotto its creamy texture. It is also one of the things that makes risotto such a great group activity, as it permits plenty of time to drink and gossip.
Repeat until the rice is al dente, tender but still very chewy. The consistency should be slightly liquid, somewhere between solid and soupy. Then season with a bit of pepper and check the salt.
If you happen to have some vegan parmesan, you can toss it in at this point or sprinkle it on top for serving. However, don't let anyone, ANYONE (not even great Italian food writers) tell you that risotto gets it's creamy consistency from butter or cheese 'cuz it just ain't so. Master the simple art of stirring and you, too, can be a Risotto Queen!
Spoon it into shallow bowls, sprinkle with remaining parsley and enjoy immediately.