from one generation to the next
Pumkpkin is making it’s seasonal appearance in the northern hemisphere. In Australia, we’re lucky both Jap and butternut varieties are available year round. Pumpkin soup is a favourite in winter and our Sunday roast lamb would be incomplete without lightly charred pumpkin. Pumpkin scones and pumpkin fruitcake were popular with my Mum’s generation, but personally I prefer it in savoury dishes.
I often make pumpkin risotto with prosciutto, but had never baked the delicious sweet and savoury flavours into a risotto cake before. Risotto and I are seasonal friends. It overheats me instantly and is not my first choice in this sub tropical climate I now call home, risotto cake, eaten warm or at room temperature is much more appealling.
Risotto cake has been a family summertime favourite for many years. I originally stuck closely to Claudia Rodin”s recipe for Spinach Risotto Cake from her book “The Food Of Italy.” Having mastered the rice/egg/cheese proportions now I simply build the flavour according to what’s in season and what I have to hand, just like my delicious autumnal sweet corn and charred peppers version.
It’s important to leave the grains of rice quite chalky when you boil it as the time in the oven will complete the cooking process. You want the finished risotto cake to be dense and creamy with textural grains of rice.
Pumpkin, Bacon and Parmesan Risotto Cake
600g pumpkin, approx 400g after peeled and deseeded
250g arborio rice
2 cups strong vegetable stock
4 short loin rashers of bacon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
20g butter, melted
30g grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
the leaves stripped from the large sprig of fresh thyme
30g grated parmesan extra
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly oil a 20cm rond springform pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Chop the pumpkin, steam until soft, then roughly mash with a fork. Put the pumkin in a mixing bowl.
Bring the well seasoned stock to the boil, throw in the rice and simmer for 10 minutes, Drain and rinse the ricein cold wayer then add it to the pumpkin and stir the butter through.
Trim the fat from the bacon and chop into fine dice. Add to the pumpkin mix with the eggs, cheese, nutmeg, pepper and thyme leaves. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Tip the risotto into the cake tin, spread to the edges and flatten the top.
Sprinkle with the extra parmesan cheese.
Bake or approx 40 minutes until it’s golden brown and is firm to the touch in the centre.
Allow to cool for 10 mins before releasing the sides of the pan.
Serves 6 with green salad.