Back to the quick and easy. My journey into RisottoLand is branching out gradually, and this is a minor variation on the Ham and Tomato Risotto I posted a couple of weeks ago. The thing about Risottos is that they're a great way to use up food that really needs to be finished off, and you can throw almost anything in them. I had a pumpkin turning a bit ripe in the cupboard, so into the Risotto it goes. I also blanched a handful of the usual greens - carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower - in the water that I used to boil the pumpkin, and added them in just at the end.
Pumpkin and Ham Risotto
Cut up 1/4 of a big grey pumpkin. Slice off the skin and cube into 1cm pieces. Boil in salted water until tender but not quite cooked and put aside in a colander. Reserve the cooking water.
Heat some olive oil in a large pan, and add 1 chopped onion and 3 finely sliced or crushed cloves of garlic. When the onion starts to go translucent, add about 200g of chopped ham and allow to brown lightly. Mix in 1 cup of Arborio Rice. This will snap and crackle a bit, so keep it all moving to prevent it from burning to the bottom of the pan. Give it about 3 minutes, then add 1/4 of a cup of Vegetable Stock. If this is prewarmed, it will speed the cooking process. As the rice starts to absorb the liquid, add the pumpkin and mix in gently. The pumpkin will give the Risotto a lovely orange colour and a slightly gooey texture.
Blanch a small colander of fresh veges in the pumpkin water and stand aside.
Continue to add the stock in 1/4 Cups, letting it cook the rice gently, and add a bit of the pumpkin water if you run out of stock (allow 1 - 1 1/2 Cups). When the rice is nearly done, add the veges to the pan and mix through. When the rice is cooked, mix through 1/4 cup of sour cream and heat for a couple of minutes longer.
Serve with a scoop of sour cream, freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of EV Olive Oil.
Our other exciting news on the food front is that, after several weeks of watching the mailer advertising for bargains and specials, we picked up a Slow Cooker for a mere $50.00. Our first foray into the Slow Cooking world was a Whole Chicken, which I'll post soon. Divine! Right at this minute we have Lamb Chops simmering away too. Watch this space for more!