I had a bit of a chuckle yesterday when a few gentlemen on Instagram called it to my attention that I was stirring my risotto too fanatically. Wasn’t it Nigella who once said stirring risotto is very therapeutic? Perhaps I was in need of some ‘therapy’ yesterday and that clarifies my overzealous wooden spoon action? Well, not really. Although I suppose there’s a right and a wrong way to do everything, I find that my rough-handed method results in a creamy risotto without the need to add extra butter at the end. Not, that I have anything against butter!
Anyhow, let’s get on to the recipe that caused the commotion. A delightful roast pumpkin and feta risotto which you will definitely want to make this autumn. Enjoy!
Roast Pumpkin & Feta Risotto
- 1 small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cubed in bite-sized chunks
- 8 sage leaves, finely chopped
- pinch of dried red chili flakes
- fleur de sel
- freshly-cracked pepper
- 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsps mild olive oil
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 325g arborio rice
- 1,2 hot vegetable stock
- 150g feta, cubed
- bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the pumpkin, sage, chili flakes, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl with fitted lid and shake vigorously to mix. You can also do this in a Ziploc bag. Spread the seasoned pumpkin over a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes. Once baked, leave to cool. Heat the mild olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sweat the spring onion, shallot and garlic. Add the rice and stir for a minute or so, making sure all the grains are coated with a layer of oil. Add 100 ml of the stock, reduce the heat and continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Add the remaining stock in small amounts and stirring continuously. Add more stock only when the last bit is completely absorbed by the rice. You probably do not need all the stock. Test a few grains of rice after about 15 minutes, but usually it takes 20 minutes before the rice is just right; soft but with a little bite (al dente). If that is not the case, continue to add more stock and stir. Taste the rice again after a few minutes. Once cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in most of the feta, pumpkin and parsley. Allow to stand for a minute before serving. Top each portion with the remaining feta and pumpkin.
As some of you may already know, I have been turning a blind eye to the end of summer. I had my first pumpkin spice latte yesterday (no, not the sugar explosions from that well-known coffee place, but my own), and I’ve already baked with my homegrown apples twice. What I haven’t done is put away the summer clothes just yet, but there was an unmistakable chill in the air today that gently whispered a dress probably hadn’t been the best option. A chill that also reminded me it was finally time to turn that pumpkin I had purchased a week ago into the first real autumnal soup of the season.
I love pumpkin soup and have many different recipes. The one I made today, however, is probably the easiest of them all. You simply roast your pumpkin with red onions, garlic and spices, add some broth and blitz in a blender. That’s all! Hardly work — tons of flavor, as roasting is known to do.
Here’s the recipe:
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- 1 small pumpkin, peeled and chopped
- 4 small red onions, peeled and cut into sections
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp dried cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried curcuma
- fleur de sel
- freshly-cracked pepper
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 600 ml hot vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 200C. In a baking tray, mix the pumpkin, red onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper and oil. Roast for 40 minutes (stirring once) until nice and soft. Blitz the vegetables and stock in a blender; you may have to do this in batches. Serve with fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
It was a hefty week. I started work on a new project, spent a lot of time on the phone conducting interviews and planning photo shoots, rounded off the last DUTCH of 2015 and brainstormed new recipes for this blog. I am not even going to think of the things I didn’t do. If anyone wants to come and sweep the garden or organize my pigsty of a closet, let me know. I have wine.
A moist, richly spiced pumpkin cake drizzled with a lusciously glossy chocolate sauce.
I am currently working on an assignment for a car magazine (yes, new territory!) and the subject, food trucks, just couldn’t be more ‘hip n’ happening’. For the article I will be interviewing five out of the fifty food trucks that are participating in the two-year pilot organized in Amsterdam. Yesterday I spoke with two passionate entrepreneurs, and today I will be hearing the stories of a few more.
In between that, the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of DUTCH is about to go to print, and I’ve already started work on the first issue of 2016. Did I also mention that I am working on a few food videos for a Belgian client? Oh, and that I made it my mission to blog a LOT more often?
Plenty going on, in other words. And let me just tell you that I am extremely proud of myself (excuse me while I pat my own back) because amidst all that work, I managed to round off my day at 5:30 p.m. yesterday just so I could take time to cook and serve dinner at a respectable hour. It makes such a huge difference.