Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Thank You Berry Much!

Risotto alla Zucca ai Crespini
Barberry & Pumpkin Risotto

I couldn't help thinking, whilst making this risotto dish this evening, that if I had used cranberries rather than barberries, it would have made a wonderful alternative side dish for my American friends for the Thanksgiving holidays. Maybe next time- or maybe you will try it out with cranberries instead- I can't imagine there being much of a difference in the result to be honest... because both are going to be equally delicious!

There is no big back-story to this recipe... I just got home late from work, hadn't planned what I was going to make, checked what I had in the fridge, freaked-out and then decided to make the most of what I had... as usual! So there was still pumpkin- and though it CAN be a bit tedious, I also felt that it IS seasonal and it IS cool to do something a little out of the ordinary with it. Hope you like what I did as much as I enjoyed it!

I started off by sautéeing onions and celery in a little clarified butter. Once they had become translucent, I added the rice and stirred it in well. I added a half teaspoon of turmeric, some finely chopped rosemary and a little grated ginger and after a further minute or two, deglazed the saucepan with a dash of white wine. I then added some crushed garlic and began to add the broth, ladle by ladle, in the classic manner- you know how!

Whilst the rice was gently cooking, I grated around 2 cupfuls of pumpkin- I used Hokkaido again... and I still have half of it left! I am thinking the rest of it needs to be turned into another sweet dish maybe... we will see! In any case- in went the pumpkin and also a couple of handfuls of dried barberries- or cranberries if you prefer. Keep adding the broth and stirring, stirring, stirring!

After about 20 minutes, the rice should be almost done. At this point, in a traditional risotto, you would be adding grated Parmesan or Grana into it- but I decided to try using finely chopped feta instead. I added the cheese and a splash of milk, stirred it together well, added a splash of olive oil, put the lid on top and let it sit for the last 2-3 minutes. Finished!

The tangy barberries go really well with the turmeric and the pumpkin, the chicken broth gives the risotto a delicious richness and the feta gives it all a little more depth. I served it with a little garnish of rosemary and enjoyed a nice, chilled Chardonnay with mine- hopefully you will too!

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