Pumpkin and sage risotto

Serves 4 (or 8 as a starter)

What to do with the insides of a carved pumpkin lantern? This delicious seasonal dish makes a perfect, simple dinner or warming first course for an autumn supper party. I garnish with deep-fried crispy sage leaves and a sprinkling of parmesan.

Wellbeing Wisdom

  • Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene and rich in fibre too
  • Winter squashes like pumpkins are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy carbohydrates, releasing their sugars more slowly than, for instance, potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 litres well-flavoured vegetable stock
  • 650g pumpkin, peeled & chopped
  • 175ml dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 350g arborio risotto rice
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian equivalent), plus extra for sprinkling
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (or 1tsp dried sage)
  • 8 fresh sage leaves for garnish
  • 20ml sunflower or corn oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Start by lightly frying the chopped onion in a large, deep frying pan using 1 tbsp of the olive oil.
  2. Place 400g of the chopped pumpkin pieces in a blender or food mixer with the white wine, and whizz to a purée. Stir the pumpkin purée into the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes, then add the rice and mix thoroughly. Pour in a little stock until it just covers the rice, and stir slowly while the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue to add the stock a little at a time and stirring until the rice is cooked. Season well with the freshly chopped sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage), salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. During this time, place the remaining 200g of pumpkin pieces on a baking tray, coat with a tablespoonful of olive oil and place in a hot oven for 15 minutes to roast. Season well with salt and pepper, chop into chunks and stir into the risotto mixture together with the grated Parmesan.
  4. Before serving, use a small saucepan to heat the sunflower or corn oil to a high temperature, briefly drop in the sage leaves to deep fry, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a piece of kitchen towel. Use to garnish the dish, finishing with a final sprinkling of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Serve hot. Broccoli, including the purple sprouting variety, works well as an accompaniment.