Christmas is over. We made Christmas doughnuts and sweet rice pudding, confit salted codfish to eat with potatoes and collard greens, set up a large dinner table, toasted with sour cherry liqueur to the joy and fortune of having the family reunited once more and warmed our hands around a bowl of creamy smoking soup; the children improvised Christmas performances and we exchanged presents and kisses. Now is the time to take advantage of the few days of calm between Christmas and the preparation of the new year celebration to rest, make an assessment of the year that’s ending and plan for the year ahead. In days like these it feels nice to prepare a simple meal but that it’s still full of flavor and comforting, after all it is winter and the gray sky that I see from my window is threatening rain.
One of the good things about risotto is its versatility, the possibility to use the products of each season to create endless combinations of flavors. Do you remember, in the summer, the tomato and zucchini risotto I left you? So, now it is the humble pumpkin that lends its sunny color to create a risotto that brings into the house the light that is lacking in this gray and moody sky.
Roasted pumpkin risotto with Roquefort cheese
- 1 Hokkaido pumpkin (you can also use butternut, for example)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 3 sage leaves
- 320 g risotto rice (Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio)
- 1 dl dry white wine
- 1,25 l vegetable broth hot
- 75 g Parmesan cheese (or Grana Padano) freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 200 g Roquefort cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Lay a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on it the hokkaido pumpkin cut into quarters and cleaned of seeds. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. After this time, remove the pumpkin pulp and crush coarsely with a fork or make a thinner puree using a blender. Weigh 300 g of pumpkin puree and set aside.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole, preferably wide, on medium heat. Add the onion and sage leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the rice and fry it for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and let evaporate.
- Add two ladles of the hot vegetable stock and cook until the rice absorbs almost all the liquid. Go adding the remaining broth, a ladle at a time, keeping the heat low and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When the rice is creamy and al dente, i.e., the grain is cooked but maintains a slight resistance in the middle, add the pumpkin puree and stir well to incorporate. Then add the butter and grated cheese and stir again until they are melted and incorporated. Season with freshly ground black pepper and rectify the salt, if necessary (depends on the salt content of the vegetable stock). Serve the pumpkin risotto immediately, accompanied with Roquefort cheese.
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