I remember being taught how to make risotto by one of my closest friends (my fox, you know who you are). She taught me how to make a mushroom risotto, the technique and how to know it was ready. I remember receiving a scrapbook from her for my 21st birthday, and at the back, she had written in the risotto recipe, so I could go into the world and perfect this recipe.
That year, I moved to Spain for the first part of my ERASMUS, and I was still fairly new in the cooking world. I didn’t want to spend the money on good quality ingredients incase I messed up a dish, so I would essentially practice recipes with cheaper ingredients until I was ready to move up a notch. So the mushroom risotto was made just using simple button mushrooms and chicken stock, not a porcini in sight.
A few years on and I am certainly more comfortable with risotto, so I go straight for the good stuff, and to be honest, it actually makes such a difference! What I will say is that you need to be prepared to put in the work with a risotto. When it’s time to start stirring the wine and stock, put your phone down and stay at the cooker – get the elbow working! It pays off I promise!
This pumpkin and radicchio risotto recipe was something I wanted to try having had both pumpkin and radicchio together in a pasta dish at a restaurant a few weeks ago. Radicchio is so common in Veneto, especially around where I live and with it being in season, we almost always find it in the supermarkets which means it’s also going to be in our fridge. Radicchio itself can be quite bitter, so I found that combining it with the sweet pumpkin was a perfect combination. I used 2 different kinds of radicchio, but I would recommend seeing what you can find in your local supermarket or farmers market.
Be patient, make sure you don’t add too much liquid at one time to the risotto. I use a medium sized ladle and I really wait until the rice has pretty much absorbed all the liquid before I add anymore. I recommend you do the same! Also, don’t be shy with the butter and cheese, it gives this pumpkin and radicchio risotto that extra boost of creaminess that I just love!
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients 50g Unsalted butter 1 Shallot, diced 1 Garlic clove, finely chopped 170g Pumpkin, diced 130g Radicchio, roughly chopped 120g Arborio rice 125ml White wine 1.5L Vegetable Stock 100g Parmesan, grated Salt Pepper
In a large saucepan, melt half the butter on a medium-low heat. Add the shallots and sweat slowly until almost translucent – around 7-8 minutes.
Add the garlic and fry for a 1 more minute until fragrant. Chuck in the pumpkin and leave to fry for around 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally to allow it to soften and slightly caramelise.
After 8 minutes, add the radicchio, stir to combine and it will wilt as it cooks. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a separate medium saucepan, warm up the vegetable stock, keep the heat low.
Once the pumpkin is slightly caramelised and the radicchio has wilted, pour in the rice, stir for 2 minutes to allow it to take in the flavours before adding the wine – increase the heat and allow the alcohol to evaporate, stir continuously.
Add stock a ladle at a time, stir until it has been absorbed before adding the next ladle. Continue for around 15-20 minutes until the rice has grown and the consistency is extremely starchy. You can try the rice to check if you need to add more stock, you want the rice to have a slight bite to it.
Adjust the seasoning to taste, sprinkle in the parmesan and add the other half of the butter, beat it into the risotto until it melts – serve hot with extra parmesan!