Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | FOOD & WINE - WEEK­END COOK WORDS: MAG­GIE COOPER mag­gies.col­[email protected]­pond.com

To­day’s recipe is for a mush­room, as­para­gus and roast pump­kin risotto.

The type of rice you use for a risotto is im­por­tant; it must be an Ital­ian short-grain va­ri­ety such as carnaroli, ar­bo­rio or vialone. They have a high starch con­tent re­leased dur­ing the cook­ing process, re­sult­ing in the char­ac­ter­is­tic creamy tex­ture. And the long stir­ring is es­sen­tial for the same rea­son. You can’t rush a risotto.


Serves: 4


500g but­ter­nut pump­kin, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks; 2 tbsp olive oil; 70g salted but­ter; 2 white onions, peeled and chopped; 1 cup mush­rooms, sliced; 2 cloves gar­lic, peeled and crushed; 2 cups Ital­ian short-grain rice; 1⁄2 cup white wine; 6 cups hot veg­etable stock; 1 bunch as­para­gus, cut into short lengths; leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus ex­tra for gar­nish; black pep­per, to taste; 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parme­san, to serve


Pre­heat oven to 200C. Line an oven tray with foil or bak­ing pa­per. Toss pump­kin in oil and spread on tray. Roast for 25 min­utes or un­til ten­der. Set aside.

Melt but­ter in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion un­til soft, then add mush­rooms. Cook for a fur­ther few min­utes, then add gar­lic and rice. Cook, stir­ring, for a minute. Add wine and sim­mer un­til al­most evap­o­rated.

Add half a cup of hot stock to the saucepan and cook, stir­ring con­stantly, un­til ab­sorbed. Con­tinue adding hot stock, half a cup at a time, and stir­ring un­til ab­sorbed, un­til half the stock is used.

Add pump­kin and con­tinue adding stock as be­fore. When there is only half a cup of stock left, add the pump­kin, as­para­gus, thyme leaves and re­main­ing stock. Cook as be­fore.

Re­move from heat; sea­son to taste with black pep­per and gar­nish with ex­tra thyme.

Serve im­me­di­ately with freshly grated parme­san on the side.

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