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Recipe

Extra creamy pumpkin and crispy sage risotto

A bowl of this pumpkin and sage risotto is pure comfort. Nici Wickes' recipe for this classic Italian dish also happens to be gluten-free and vegetarian, making it perfect for a range of dinner guests

By Nici Wickes
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 2
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This recipe first appeared in New Zealand Woman's Weekly.
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or use salted boiling water
  • 25 gram butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 150 gram (about 3 handfuls) risotto rice
  • 100 millilitre white wine
  • 1 cup pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 10-12 sage leaves, fried in butter until crisp

Method

  • 1
    Heat the stock in a pot to simmering.
  • 2
    In a medium-sized, heavy-based pot or pan, melt the butter, add the olive oil and gently sauté the onions. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the rice. Stir to coat in the oil and butter. Gently fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Don't let the onion brown.
  • 3
    Pour in the wine and allow to bubble until almost evaporated. Add 1 cup hot stock and simmer until it is almost gone. Keep adding the remaining stock in this way, half a cup at a time, until all the stock is used and/or the rice is just cooked through. It is important that the rice grains are allowed to absorb most of the liquid before the next addition because this adds to the creaminess of the dish. It isn't critical to stir the risotto continuously, but it is important to ensure that it doesn't dry out, so keep an eye on it. Add the pumpkin pieces about halfway through the cooking.
  • 4
    Just before serving, shake the pot, front and back, so that risotto slaps against the sides. This helps to release the starches and makes it extra-creamy.
  • 5
    Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle on the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and sage leaves. Drizzle with olive oil.

Notes

If you need more liquid and all the stock has been used, add some boiling water. Alternatively, the rice may cook before you have used all of the stock. The rice is cooked when it is firm to the bite but not "chalky". - A good rule of thumb when cooking risotto is to allow one large handful of uncooked rice per person, plus one for the pot. - Risotto isn't as temperamental as some people think. It involves some supervision but continuous stirring isn't necessary if you use good quality risotto rice (carnaroli, arborio or vialone nano).

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