Each season has its own colours, aromas and flavours and there is nothing more enjoyable than finding something to cook which reflects the changing seasons and the passing of time - sunshine, snow, flowers or colourful forests. Today we bring you the pleasant flavours of autumn with a classic dish. Even during this time of the year gardens offer up plenty of produce, and one such is the pumpkin or squash: they are characterized by their bright and lively colour, almost as if to emphasize the fact that we’re not quite ready to leave summer behind. Pumpkins and squashes are soft, creamy and capable of gently enveloping almost any dish with their warm embrace, as mild as an Italian autumn: and with this pumpkin risotto I want to make it even more delicious with a some crunchy, crushed amaretti biscuits. What do you think, does this recipe do it for you?
Cut the pumpkin or squash into wedges and remove the peel. Cut it into 1 or 2cm cubes. Sauté for 5 minutes in oil, add salt and 1 finger’s width of hot water, cover and let the pumpkin gently soften. When it is quite tender, remove from the heat and with a wooden pestle or an electric blender, crush or blitz to a thick puree. Add the rice to a saucepan with a little oil and toast for a minute. Add a dash of white wine and before the wine has completely evaporated, add the pumpkin base and a few crumbled amaretti biscuits. Add hot water (at this point I also add salt, but you could add the salt bit by bit if you’re not sure how much you want). You may be wondering why I don’t use stock, but hot water instead – the reason is that I don’t want to "contaminate" the taste of the risotto, in this case specifically the pumpkin. In my dishes always I look for simplicity and authenticity. Keep adding hot water as it evaporates, until the rice is cooked: you should decide how much cooking it needs – ‘de disputandum gustibus non est!’ - there’s no accounting for taste! Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and stir: this is the most important stage for getting a creamy risotto. You have to be careful that the rice is not too firm when served or it won’t be enjoyable to eat: it should remain soft, almost like a cream with rice inside. Add plenty of butter and stir very vigorously (careful with splashing!!!). Then add the Parmesan and stir even more vigorously. Now sprinkle over the top of your risotto a generous handful of coarsely crumbled amaretti biscuits. Now serve your creamy risotto and grind over some black pepper.