For 4 people
500g of pumpkin (peeled, diced)
Olive oil (5 spoonfuls)
500g risotto rice (Arborio recommended)
Clean the pumpkin, skin it and cut it into rough cubes.
Put pumpkin cubes in large pan, add water and salt.
Set to boil on medium heat, when water starts boiling keep it at low heat without losing the boil.
Once pumpkin is soft (check with knife/fork), mash it inside the pan with the water. You should end up with mashed pumpkin in water.
Cut onion into fine pieces.
Fry in olive oil until golden [Optional: add pepper to taste]
Pour oil from onions into mashed pumpkin using a sieve to keep onions separate.
You can then throw the onions away as they are only for taste.
Keep the pumpkin mash boiling at a low heat for 30 mins to allow the oil and flavour to spread and set.
[Optional: pre-cook risotto rice with a bit of oil in a pan to open/soften the rice.]
Add rice to the pumpkin mash.
Keep boiling until water is absorbed in rice, roughly 30 mins at low heat.
Add boiling water to the pot when you notice it runs low and the rice is not yet cooked.
[Optional: instead of adding boiling water, you can add boiling vegetable stock (ready made or home made). Or you can also add ready made vegetable stock cubes to the boiling pumpkin mash before the rice.]
If you prefer the rice softer you can keep cooking and add boiling water/stock until ready to your taste. If you prefer it harder do not add water/stock and stop boiling when done.
Serve with grated cheese (parmesan) and pepper to taste.
The best pumpkins in Italy are from the Mantova region.
When you buy your pumpkin turn it around (bottom side up) and check if it has a ‘capel del pret’ (aka priest’s hat) which are like three bubbles in the center of the pumpkin. The name comes from an old hat priests used to wear in summer which resembles the bubbles on the bottom of the pumpkin.