from one generation to the next
Opinion is divided about how to correctly structure risotto. Purists claim it should be served soupy with very firm grain and simple flavouring. There is no argument from me that this creates an elegant form, especially served as a palate teasing primo piatto.
When risotto is primo e secondo rolled into one however, I like to break with tradition and add enough ingredients to make an Italian swear at my culinary abuse. My Australian risotto is a warming and nutritious dinner in a bowl.
1 kg Jap pumpkin, peeled and deseeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 paper thin slices of prosciutto
2 cups canaroli rice
1 cup white wine
1/2 – 3/4 litre vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
100g fresh spinach leaves
60g grated Parmesan cheese
50 g roasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Chop the pumpkin into 3cm chunks. Divide into 2 batches. Steam one batch until soft. Toss the second batch in olive oil and roast until well caramelized. Set aside.
Lay the prosciutto on a greased oven tray and roast until crisp. Check it frequently. Drain on paper towels, allow to cool, then blitz the prosciutto to a fine crumb in the food processor. Set aside
Roast the pine nuts until golden brown, set aside.
Char grill the capsicum on the gas jet, then allow to steam in a container with a tight fitting lid. When cool enough to handle slip off the skin, deseed and chop into 1 cm dice. Set aside.
When all the vegetables are prepared, bring the stock to the boil then keep it at a low simmer.
Melt the butter, add the rice and cook stirring frequently and golden. Add the wine, and then when absorbed begin adding the stock one ladle full at a time.
When about half the stock has been added to the rice, stir in the pumpkin, red pepper and garlic.
Continue cooking the risotto, adding more stock as it is absorbed, until the grains of rice are al dente.
Stir in the spinach, cook for a further minute, then add the prosciutto crumbs and chives, cook 1 more minute then remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
Spoon into bowls and garnish with extra pine nuts, chives and prosciutto crumbs.
Makes 4 man sized serves.