A while ago, I talked about how I go through recipe phases, and just keep making the same thing over and over again. Or I make a giant batch of something and then keep eating it until I get so sick of it that I can’t cook it for months. Or years.
This is one of those recipes. The first few times we made this risotto, there just wasn’t enough of it. So the next time I doubled (or maybe even tripled) the recipe. I tend to take things a bit too far, and my whole family was sick of eating risotto for a whole week. I’m not even joking. That was maybe three or four years ago... And I really have been quite scared of risotto ever since! Even while I was in Italy I only had it a few times and just really wasn't feeling it. Until I decided to make this the other day.
I’m so glad I did, because it is delicious and amazing and I just love it. I stuck to the correct proportions, though, and I don’t think I’ll be doubling recipes anymore in the near future. This is probably my favorite risotto, ever. You can omit the bacon for a vegetarian version :)
Pumpkin, Bacon and Goats Cheese Risotto
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 rashers bacon, chopped into thin strips (or you can buy shredded, or diced, or even pancetta)
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large leek, white part only, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp butter
- 400 g pumpkin (I usually use butternut, but Japanese or anything else is fine), in small cubes
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup peas
- 100 g goats cheese, crumbled
- Handful spinach, kale or rocket to serve
- Salt, pepper, paprika, parsley to taste
- In a medium saucepan, heat the stock and the bay leaves, and then keep at a simmer.
- In a large saucepan, fry the bacon until crisp. (I never use any oil because I have a non-stick pan and the bacon fat is usually enough but feel free to drizzle in some oil first) Remove and set aside.
- Return pan to heat and fry the onion, leek and garlic in the bacon fat until translucent.
- Lower the heat. Put in the pumpkin and butter and just a tablespoon of the stock. Stir and cover with a lid for about 10 – 15 minutes. The pumpkin should be very soft.
- Add in the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat.
- Add the stock, one cup at a time, stirring constantly so all the moisture is absorbed before the next. Continue until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked but is still firm inside. You don’t have to use up all the stock, and you don’t want the rice to be mushy. It should take about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Stir in the peas, half the cheese and half the bacon. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and parsley.
- Serve with the greens and the remaining bacon and cheese crumbled on top.