I must admit that one of the things I miss the most about living in the Northern Hemisphere are the seasons. Don’t get me wrong, we have the same seasons down here, but they are “reversed”. In fact, right now, it’s the end of spring. Besides the fact that I will never be able to get used to a summer Christmas, here in Sydney autumn is not what I was used to in Italy. It’s not that cold and humid… it’s more similar to spring. I miss the aroma of wet earth and rotten leaves… I miss seeing the leaves change colour on the trees. So, today’s recipe is an ode to the Italian autumn. I will show you how to make a deliciously creamy Saffron Pumpkin Porcini Risotto. I love this flavour profile. The earthiness of the mushrooms goes really well with the sweetness of the pumpkin puree. Give it a try, I know you won’t be disappointed. Buon appetito!
Saffron Pumpkin Porcini Risotto
How to make Saffron Pumpkin Porcini Risotto - an ode to the Italian autumn, earthy and creamy.
- 200 gms – 7 oz. porcini mushrooms fresh or frozen, chopped
- 1 garlic clove halved
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine
- Salt to taste
- 320 gms – 11.5 oz. rice Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano
- 450 gms – 1 lb. pumpkin
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml – ¼ cup white wine
- 1 lt – 4 cups beef or vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
- 30 gms – 2 tbsp butter
- Salt to taste
- 2 pinches of saffron
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
Start by preparing the roasted pumpkin. Slice it and put it on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with salt and coat with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked.
Remove the skin from the cooked pumpkin and blend it. Keep aside.
To prepare the porcini sauce, halve the garlic clove and put it in a non stick frying pan with 1 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil and let it fry on a low fire for 1 minute.
Add the sliced mushrooms and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and season with salt to taste.
Put the stock in a pot and heat it on the fire. The stock has to be hot all the time while you are cooking risotto, so that the rice temperature does not drop when you add it to it.
Put the finely chopped onion and the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pot and let it cook on a slow fire, until the onion becomes soft and transparent.
Add the rice, mix well and let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until it becomes translucent.
Now pour in the white wine and let the alcohol burn off by cooking on a high flame.
Then add enough hot stock to cover the rice and turn the fire to medium-low. Keep cooking, occasionally stirring the rice and adding hot stock little by little, until the rice is cooked. It is going to take approximately 18 to 20 minutes depending on the rice you are using.
After the first 15 minutes, add the roasted pumpkin purée, the porcini sauce and saffron and keep cooking the rice.
When the rice is ready, put the fire off and add the butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Mix very well, until the rice becomes creamy.
Make sure that your risotto is moist (or, as we say, all’onda – which literally means wavy) and not sticky. You can do that by adding 1 or 2 extra tbsp of hot stock if needed. Check for salt and season to your liking.
Serve your risotto hot, with some chopped parsley on the top.
Do not wash the rice before cooking it. You want to keep the starch in it, as that is what makes risotto naturally creamy.