This year we have a plethora of petite pumpkins – the shot below shows rather less than half the crop. Pretty, aren’t they? We decided to grow mini-pumpkins as while the husband & I love them, the daughter has them on her list of Food to Avoid If Possible. (No accounting for some tastes…) Anyway, the seed packets informed us that we’d get just 3-4 fruit per plant, so we planted quite a few, wanting to try the different varieties on offer. And most of the plants grew like Topsy & produced a dozen or so cute little pumpkins. Which, as well as looking gorgeous, taste great. I just need to come up with a range of ways to cook them.
So the other night, I made pumpkin risotto. First up, I cut two of our larger fruit in half, scooped out the seeds, & put them cut side down in a baking tray lined with a teflon sheet before baking them at 180 degrees C until soft – about 45 minutes. When they were done, the cut surfaces were slightly caramelised, giving added depth to the flavour.
While that was happening I started in on the risotto part of the meal. A thinly-sliced onion went into one of my big saucepans with 25 g of butter & a splash of olive oil, to soften over a low heat. After 5 or so minutes I added several cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced, followed by 2 c of arborio rice. I stirred all that together until the rice started to go translucent round the edges & was glisteningly covered with the butter/oil.
At which point I opened a bottle of the rather nice 2011 Villa Maria gewurtztraminer, added 250 ml to the rice – & poured myself a glass as well 🙂 – then stirred everything together & turned the heat right down, so that it was all barely simmering. Once the liquid was almost all absorbed, I started adding a litre of hot vegetable stock (again, 250 ml at a time), stirring & then leaving each lot of liquid to be absorbed before adding the next.
While this was going on I also cooked 4 large rashers of shoulder bacon in a very little butter (I find it tends to stick, otherwise) until crispy round the edges. Once that was done I drained it & chopped it into smallish pieces, before cooking 12-15 sage leaves in the fat that remained in the pan. Be careful with this – they need very little time to go crispy!
By this time the pumpkin was done & the risotto was creamy & tender. I added 1/2 c of sour cream to the rice & stirred that through, following it with the bacon & the pumpkin, scooped out of its skin with a dessertspoon to give reasonably big chunks. And then we ate it all up, with lashings of parmesan & the rest of the wine on the side. (No, Trevor, I did not drink it all!)