For some cooks the word ‘risotto’ conjures up long hours in the kitchen. However, risotto is quite easy to prepare so don’t be put off making it because someone told you it’s time consuming. Just remember that a good risotto means choosing the right kind of rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli as these will release starch and create a perfect creamy mixture. Risotto originated in North Italy (Eastern Piedmont and Western Lombardy) where rice paddies are abundant. It is one of the pillars of Milanese.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
500g pumpkin, peeled and diced
800ml chicken or beef stock (heat it up until hot)
1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
60g. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and sauté the onion and garlic until golden. Add diced pumpkin and 1 cup of boiling broth, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the rice, stir and add a ladleful of boiling stock. Before adding each ladleful of stock, make sure the previous stock has been completely absorbed into the rice. Be sure to gently stir with a wooden spoon as you don’t want to mash the rice. This process of adding the broth & stirring should be about 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the remaining butter and parmesan. Serve immediately.
The Culinary Chase’s note: You want the broth to be hotter than the rice, so that when you add it to the pot it doesn’t cool down the rice, (which would detract from the quality of your risotto) so be sure to bring it to a boil. Adding butter at the end is known in Italian as the “mantecatura.” As the butter melts it coats each grain of rice, yielding a richer, creamier risotto.