Michella is my Italian Mama. I stayed 10 days with here and her family to learn as many as possible. We worked in the fields during the day and in the afternoon we cooked with all the fresh products we found. She is such a great chef, an artist and this is my favourite recipe from her:
Risotto with pumpkin and chestnut… fantastic. Italy uses products how they should be used; fresh and in season.
When your’e with 4;
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 gloves garlic
- 4 pieces of thyme
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 carrot
- ½ celeriac
- ½ fennel
- 2 onions
- 1 cup dry white wine
- About 6 cups of hot chicken stock or vegetable stock (preferable homemade)
- 1 pumpkin, baked in the oven. You can leave the skin on.
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- Around 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fennel, celeriac, onions and carrot in kitchen machine quickly. Or cut into small pieces.
Heat the oven to 220 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into 4 pieces and take out the seeds.
The pumpkin is ready when it caramelizes and the skin starts to come off. (it takes around 45 minutes)
In the meanwhile:
In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic an the thyme in the pan and sauté. Stir continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Ad the veggie mix and sauté for 5 more minutes. Now its time to add the rice, stir gently, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil. Everything needs time, so don’t burn the garlic, oil or thyme! Take it easy.
Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover the rice completely, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep on adding stock and stir gently till the rice is al dente. (A little chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed)
When the pumpkin is ready, take of the skin and cut into pieces. (it will be puree in a anyhow so in don’t really matter how big it is)
So now stir the pumpkin into risotto add the very end. The risotto is aaalamost ready.. and it doesn’t simmer anymore. Stir in the Parmesan and butter to give the risotto a creamy and powerfull taste in the end.
When everything ready, crumble the chestnut on top of the dish. What a masterpiece you will serve to you’re guest!
In Italy, this will be a starter. But for me it’s enough as a main dish 😉 You can finish also with some freshly chopped parsley. So you have a very nice pallet of colours …
Because cooking is just like art!