This risotto dish is just the ticket at this time of year: a lovely warming dish as the nights start to get a little chillier, which also uses up the pumpkin from Halloween. I made this risotto with my dear friend Catherine using the remnants from a pumpkin effigy of Paul Hollywood.
Why not invite everyone round for a spot of pumpkin carving and risotto eating? It can easily be scaled up or down depending on how many you’re feeding, or alternatively cold risotto makes a lovely packed lunch in the library. I like the seeds scattered on top of the risotto, but they’re also really tasty on their own as a library snack.
Pumpkin and Pea Risotto and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
You will need:
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 2 tbsp veg oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
- Several cloves garlic, crushed
- 250g risotto rice
- 1 stock cube / stock
- flavourings for the pumpkin seeds (salt/chilli/cumin powder)
- Handful grated cheddar cheese/ Sainsbury’s basics hard cheese/ parmesan
- Frozen peas
- Salt and pepper
- Carve the pumpkin if you have not done so already by cutting round the top, removing the lid and scraping out as much flesh as you can get. Chop any very large chunks of flesh into smaller bits. Separate out the seeds and the flesh.
- Heat the oil with a knob of butter in a saucepan. Cook the onion in the oil gently, adding the celery after 2 minutes and the garlic after 5.
- Once it’s nicely soft and translucent, add the rice and cook for a minute or so, making sure each grain is coated with oil.
- Make the stock by putting the stock cube in a jug and pouring boiling water over it. Add the stock to the rice gradually, stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock after each addition. Keep on stirring the rice: this will result in a lovely, creamy dish at the end.
- Whilst the rice is cooking, put your seeds in a frying pan and toast them over a medium heat. Add flavourings such as salt or chilli, or even sugar or cumin or paprika. Make sure you don’t burn them.
- Once the rice is cooked but still has a little bite to it, take it off the heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper, peas and a knob of butter (optional). Stir vigorously for a minute until you have a beautifully cheesy creamy rice dish before you.
- Serve with more cheese on top if desired, and enjoy the seeds either scattered on the top or separately as a healthy snack.