Riso e zucca

Pumpkin risotto is all about colour. Cutting open a pumpkin is a voluptuous experience in itself, the rich, earthy orange tones of pumpkin always bring me back into a glorious summer sunset.

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
1 kg pumpkin, or more (the more the better)
450 g rice
Onion or scallion to taste
1 glass white wine
1 litre broth
150 g grated Parmesan
4 sage leaves in the Risotto, and some leaves for decoration

The very first step is baking 1 kg or more pumpkin cut in big sectors; leave everything, as it is, the skin and seeds. Set the oven without preheating at 220°C for 40 minutes. The orange colour will get even deeper or rather brown at the tips and the taste added by the oven bake is great. Prepare the risotto the usual way, first a light butter soffritto with half an onion or one scallion, finely chopped and simmered at moderate heat until golden. Toast the rice in the soffritto and add one glass of white wine. When the wine has evaporated add the flesh of he pumpkin that you had cut in little cubes of about one inch. Follow the preparation of risotto by adding hot broth little by little with a ladle and keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the grains are softer but still hard at the centre. It is time to put the gas off, add a little bit of broth to keep the risotto compound very, very soft, add one knob of butter and the grated parmesan. Taste and add a little salt if needed, and a pinch of sugar. Start stirring quickly so that the risotto incorporates some air: the result will be soft and creamy. Here in Italy we call it “all’onda” because if you move the pan quickly, the risotto will form a kind of a “wave”. Final touch: a few leaves of sage into the compound will add zest to the sweet flavour of the pumpkin. Serve and sprinkle with some more grated Parmesan. Pumpkin risotto tastes good and looks good, deep orange colours are incorporated in the pale white of rice grains, an amazing contrast with the light green of sage leaves.

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