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Pumpkin Risoni

May 28, 2010

While I was in Australia last week, my lovely colleague Chelsea invited a few of us over to her place for dinner, and she cooked us a most splendid pumpkin risotto. Absolutely unforgettable. I was so besotted after the first bite I asked for the recipe right away, and resolved to have a go at it soon after I got home.

Tuesday night two dear friends came over to our place for dinner, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to try out the risotto recipe. Only thing was, I couldn’t find the type of rice I needed (arborio rice). A bit of a problem since risotto is essentially a rice dish. Cold Storage did carry some kind of short-grain brown rice but I was not crazy about the idea of the risotto taking the nutty flavour of brown rice. So I decided to pick up a packet of San Remo risoni instead. Yes I know – risoni is a pasta, not a type of rice. Details details…

Anyways, using a blend of Chelsea’s instructions and Wolfgang Pucks’ squash risotto reicipe along with some of my own improvisation, I made us some Pumpkin Risoni tonight, and I have to say, it was super! Turned out exactly as I had hoped. I think there’s just something about the combined aroma of pumpkin, sun-dried tomatoes and butter that’s completely intoxicating.

The cooking process would be exactly the same if you used short-grain rice instead of risoni, so if you manage to pick up a packet of arborio somewhere, definitely go for it! Such a great dish for parties!

Pumpkin Risoni

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 wedge of pumpkin (a little less than half of a small pumpkin – you don’t have to be too precise)
25g butter (or more if you like!)
1 onion, diced
2 cups of risoni (about 400g)
1.6 litres chicken stock (about 7 cups)
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices, then halved
7-8 pieces sun-dried tomatoes from a jar, cut into small pieces
A handful of rocket i.e. arugula (optional)
1 tbsp of pine nuts (optional)

Directions (allow yourself a good 1-1.5 hours for the entire process including ingredient prep):

1. Pre-heat oven to 220 degC.

2. Bake pumpkin for about 25 mins until meat has begun to soften but isn’t complete mush yet. (To bake the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, lay pumpkin flesh side down on a baking tray, and add a shallow layer of water to the tray.)

3. Remove pumpkin from oven. (a) Cut one half up very finely till it looks almost a fibrous mess. (b) Cut the other half into small pieces (roughly 1-2cm cubes).

4. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes till soft and translucent. Throw in the uncooked risoni and mix it about to coat with the butter.

5. Pour in about half the chicken stock and stir frequently till all the stock is absorbed. Then add another cup of stock and stir till absorbed into the pasta.

6. Add this juncture you can toss in all the pumpkin, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes. Continue to cook with pasta on low to medium heat, adding one cup of stock at a time and stirring till absorbed, until all the stock has been used up.

7. Just before serving, toss in the rocket and pine nuts. Serve while still hot.

Some pictures of the ingredients and steps 3a, 4 and 6.

Mmm… creamy and sweet from the pumpkin, but still deliciously savoury thanks to sun-dried tomato. Throw some pan-fried chicken breast or pork on the side, and you have the perfect meal.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Pauline Proctor permalink
    May 28, 2010 7:04 pm

    Looks great Clare! How was your trip to Newcastle this time round?

    Love Pauline

  2. Chelsea permalink
    May 29, 2010 9:37 am

    Looks amazing! I’m going to have to give it a go with the Risoni

  3. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    May 29, 2010 10:40 am

    Pauline: It was very good. Learnt a lot! But I was definitely ready to come home. Too much travelling of late…

    Chels: Thank you for this gorgeous dish! It’s a keeper!

  4. May 29, 2010 10:09 pm

    WOW Claire! This looks so fabulous~~so delicious and healthy.
    And congratulations to the 10 finalist in SG Blog Awards. You’ve got my vote ;))

  5. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    May 30, 2010 5:32 pm

    Thanks a lot Ann! I just love your blog. Read it all the time…

  6. May 31, 2010 1:48 am

    I’m drooling by just looking at your close-up shot! The dish looks really fabulous! Your friends are so lucky. 😉

  7. May 31, 2010 7:45 am

    Nice pasta dish! Pack full of flavours.

  8. trissalicious permalink
    June 1, 2010 7:14 pm

    Fantastic improvisation! It looks just as good as a risotto dish, if not – better!


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