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.