Risotto is one of my favorite things in the world to eat. It’s so creamy, and you can make it with wine and cheese. I mean, what’s not to love?
Of course, it requires some patience but there are absolutely no fancy skills or techniques involved in making homemade risotto. Here’s the thing. If you can stir, you can make risotto. That’s how easy this is to make.
But, if you’re still feeling intimidated, fear not. Just make sure to start off with the right ingredients. I always use arborio rice and the best quality cheeses for my risotto. Quick confession here. I made this dish in the fall. Yep. That’s when pumpkins are at their peak and of course you want to use the freshest ingredients for this recipe BUT you can absolutely make this dish at any time of the year. I just substitute cubed squash for the pumpkin and it’s just as delish. You can also use canned pumpkin purée as well. Just measure out the same amount and DO NOT use pumpkin pie filling instead or you will end up with a really sweet risotto!
The process of making risotto does take some babysitting because you need to “feed” the risotto. What that means is this – slowly adding a ladle full of stock time after time, letting it fully absorb between each addition. The process takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and it’s a full commitment of risotto love.
The risotto starts as hard grains of rice, then it becomes more plump, and then, through all the stirring and the feeding, it takes on the most amazing creamy texture that’s tasty on it’s own but with the addition of other ingredients can be easily customized to your liking.
In terms of cheese, it really needs to be parmesan to be authentically Italian in flavor. That is why I chose to use Saputo Parmesan and Mozzarellissima in this recipe. The slight saltiness in both these cheeses is a great contrast to the sweeter pumpkin flavour. They add a beautiful creaminess as well.
Then the final flourish, of course, is to sprinkle additional parmesan cheese over the dish just before serving. SO YUM.
- 300 g (10 oz) pumpkin or squash
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- Olive oil, to taste
- 100 g (3 oz) pancetta cut in cubes
- 400 g (14 oz) arborio rice
- 125 mL (1 /2 glass) white wine
- 1 L (4 cups) beef broth, very hot
- 15 g (1/2 oz) butter
- 100 g (3 oz) Saputo Parmesan cheese, grated
- 170 g (5-6 oz) Saputo Mozzarellissima cheese, in small cubes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Clean the pumpkin: take out the seeds, cut in slices, take off the skin and cut in small cubes.
- In a large sauce pan sweat the onions with olive oil.
- Once the onion is lightly coloured, add the pumpkin and the pancetta and simmer for 15 minutes until the pumpkin has softened.
- Add the rice and mix well to avoid the rice sticking. Cook for 10 minutes until it becomes translucent.
- Add the wine and mix. Gradually add a ladle of broth at a time, mix until the liquid is absorbed by the rice, and continue the process until the rice is cooked, for about 20 minutes.
- Two minutes before the end of the cooking, add the butter, Parmesan and Mozzarellissima cheeses. Mix well and let rest for 2 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.