pumpkin & sage risotto
I’ve already discovered the joy of brown butter for use in sweet baking, as in the spiced apple cake cookie’wiches. But a recent wave of inspiration called for a trial: herbs fried in brown butter.
Browning butter means gently heating butter without stirring until it begins to foam and darken. Throw in a bunch of sage leaves which soon turn crisp and light, and add the remaining brown butter to risotto during it’s final stirs. Voila! Turn a simple weeknight risotto into a gourmet dish.
It has been quite a welcome change to be temporarily back in the land where everyone understands what I say; no rolling my R’s or drawing out my Aaaas to avoid the blank looks. It’s nice to call sweet potato kumara again, to enjoy creamy white (not orange) cheddar, drink milk from cows that eat grass (!!), crack an egg to reveal a bright orange yolk, walk along the Taranaki coast with a warm Spring breeze, order a flat white rather than a cappaccino in a tulip cup with less milk and no dusting. And to call squash pumpkin which can be bought from the supermarket without any signs of Halloween nearby! Saying that, I am surprised by how much I miss the land of the maple leaf! Home is indeed where the heart (and husband) is.
Pumpkin & Sage Risotto
Adapted from Valli Little, 5 Of The Best
Serves 4 – 6
10 whole sage leaves
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g pumpkin, peeled, diced into 1cm cubes
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
900ml vegetable stock (choose low sodium, or of course, make your own)
250g arborio rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
!/4 cup pine nuts, well toasted
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Place butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Allow butter to melt and begin to foam. Swirl every so often to avoid burning. Add sage leaves and continue to heat until butter darkens. once butter has changed to a slightly darker shade, remove from heat. (Do not overcook or the solids will seperate and become grainy on the bottom of the pan.) Remove the sage leaves with tongs, reserving the brown butter.
Heat oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add onion, garlic, pumpkin, lemon zest and the chopped sage, stirring to coat. Add the wine, cover and cook for 5 minutes until pumpkin is slightly soft. Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil in a saucepan. Add arborio rice to the pumpkin mixture and cook for 2 minutes to coat the grains. Add the hot stock, one ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue until all stock has been used, stirring constantly, about 15 – 17 minutes. The rice should be cooked but still slightly firm to the bite, and the pumpkin should be soft. Stir through the frozen peas and the reserved brown butter.
Serve topped with grated Parmesan, toasted pine nuts and the crispy sage leaves. A sprinkle of goats feta too goes down a treat!