Per usual I have been experiencing a lingering obligation to a once backyard garden edible that is now mortgaging part of my freezer. Ah, the New England Pie Pumpkins I cooked and pureed then tucked into a plastic tub in the Antarctica of my home…way back in October/November. I’ve been picking away at that container for a bit, and now that I’m pretty much off refined sugar pumpkin pie is out. So, I was pretty happy to find this recipe for a pumpkin risotto dish in Amanda Hesser‘s The New York Times Cook Book: Classics for a New Century. *I swapped a sheep cheese for the Parmesan and did not like it so stick to the Parmesan.
Pumpkin, Sage, Chestnut, and Bacon Risotto by Jamie Oliver from Amanda Hesser’s The New York Times Cook Book
1 small sweet cooking pumpkin or large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices bacon or pancetta (I used turkey bacon)
2 ounces peeled chestnuts (vacuum-packed are fine), about 1/3 cup
15 sage leaves
4 cups chicken broth
3 shallots, finely chopped
5 small stalks celery, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth (I skipped this step, because I’ve eliminated alcohol from my diet – but I might think twice next time, this dish needs it)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
About 1 cup mascarpone cheese (optional according to recipe, I did not use and think it might over do the flavor – maybe try without and then add?)
Heat the oven to 375. Halve the pumpkin lengthwise and peel it. Remove the seeds, rinse and drain them, and reserve. Cut the pumpkin lengthwise into thick slices and spread in a layer across a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the pumpkin with olive oil.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander seeds until crushed. Sprinkle over the pumpkin, along with salt and pepper. Bake until soft, about 40 minutes. (Because I was using thawed pumpkin puree – 100% pumpkin nothing else – I sprinkled coriander over baked 20 minutes then jumped to next step).
Remove the pumpkin from the oven (leave oven on) and lay bacon over it. Combine the reserved pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, sage, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle over the pumpkin and bacon. bake until the bacon is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven. Scrape the bacon, chestnuts, sage, and pumpkin seeds onto a plate; reserve. Finely chop about 1/2 the pumpkin. Chop the other half so that it is slightly chunky; reserve.
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a small pan over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to a very low to keep warm.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil, the shallots, celery, and a pinch of salt. Stir, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the rice, and stir constantly until the rice is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the wine until it is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.
Begin adding the broth to the rice a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next; this process will take about 20 minutes. When ready, the rice will be soft with a slight bite. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the rice from the heat, add the finely chopped pumpkin (or in my case pureed), and stir vigorously until mixed. Fold in the pumpkin chunks. Mix in the butter and Parmesan. Place a lid over the saucepan and let sit for 2 minutes.
Place a portion of risotto on each serving plate (Yield: 6 servings). Top each portion with crumbled bacon, and sprinkle with the mixture of chestnuts, sage, and pumpkin seeds. Add a dash more Parmesan cheese. Garnish each plate with a dollop of mascarpone, if desired, and serve immediately.