Rice has been cultivated in northern Italy since the Middle Ages and is therefore a very popular ingredient that has always been present in the popular diet and in a variety of recipes.
The Italians’ most popular rice dish is risotto. Its base is a variety of rice that has a high starch content, which is released during the cooking process by continuously stirring (named mantecatura) and gives it its creamy appearance. The starch plays two roles: it makes the texture of the rice creamy and velvety and retains the flavours added through accompanying ingredients that are characteristic for the risotto dish, such as pumpkin.
Pumpkin risotto is a traditional dish consumed mainly in winter when other vegetables are naturally less abundant: pumpkin is in fact well suited to being stored throughout the winter. Today we want to share the family recipe of our Italian farmer Andrea, who created a version with balsamic vinegar.
You can find (almost) all of the ingredients for the risotto here.
The first step is preparing the vegetable broth that will be used for cooking the rice. If you are short on time you can also skip this step and use a ready-made vegetable broth or a vegetable stock cube instead.
- Place two carrots, one piece of celery and a small golden onion in a large saucepan. Add 1 tbsp salt and about 750ml of water and boil for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, clean the pumpkin and cut it into 1 cm cubes.
- Warm 30 gr butter in a medium pan, ideally an anti-adherent one. Then pour the rice on it and toast it at high heat for 1-2 minutes while stirring it.
- Once the rice is toasted, start adding enough broth to cover it and lower the heat.
- After about 4 minutes, add the pieces of pumpkin and let them cook for 10-12 minutes, while adding little by little more ladles of broth as the previous amount is absorbed. Stir the rice the least possible.
- Once the rice is properly cooked, add the remaining butter, the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a bit of chopped rosemary.
- Before serving the risotto top it with a generous drizzle of Balsamic.