Erbology
Pumpkin risotto with Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin risotto with Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil

  • 5

    Serving

  • Total Time

    Total Time 40′

  • 5

    Serving

  • Total Time

    Total Time 40'

    PT40M
Vegan

Cosy up with our warming pumpkin risotto, full of the flavours of autumn. Its bright and cheerful colours and creamy texture will warm you up on the coldest of days.

The best sort of jumble

There is some debate over the name ‘risotto’. The most logical assumption would be that the name derives from riso, the Italian word for rice. However, some claim that it comes from a word from Milanese dialect (risott), meaning a kind of jumble or ‘thrown-together’ dish.(1) This is perhaps because you can customise a risotto with so many different flavours - seafood, spices, vegetables - and it’s delicious every time.

Either way, it’s a staple in our kitchens, and the very definition of comfort food.

We remember our first encounter with a risotto: the silky sauce binding the perfectly textured pearls of rice. It still amazes us that this level of creaminess and intensity of flavour can be achieved with such simple ingredients as rice and stock. It’s one of those moments of culinary magic that can start a lifetime love affair with cooking.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, risotto is a dish made by cooking a special type of rice in hot stock. When making risotto the traditional way, you must stir the rice continuously as it cooks. This is so the grains of rice don't clump together, or worse, stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

For this reason, while risotto is a simple dish that all of us can master, it does require a bit of dedication. We find that a glass of Italian wine helps to ease the cooking process as we stand and stir; the whole process becomes quite meditative and soothing!

  pumpkin risotto ingredients

Arborio rice

An early mistake in our student days involved trying to make a risotto with normal white or basmati rice. (The student budget did not stretch to buying specific types of rice for different dishes!) While you can produce quite a passable, pilaf-style dish with long grain rice, the texture is completely different when compared with an Arborio rice risotto.

Arborio rice works so well in this dish because it contains a lot of amylopectin starch. If you want to get technical about it, amylopectin is a water-soluble polysaccharide. This is how it can form such a creamy sauce; the water absorbs the starch to create a slippery liquid which coats the grains.

The secret is to make sure that the water is deeply and intensely flavoured, which is why risotto recipes always use a very high quality broth.

If you can, use homemade or even high quality shop-bought stock. The resulting flavour will be vastly superior to anything that can be achieved with a humble stock cube.

A final tip: it may seem odd to toast uncooked rice in oil, but this is a vital part of any risotto recipe. In Italian, it’s called the ‘tostatura’ - the toasting. Its purpose is to stop the rice from releasing all of its starch immediately, which would result in a mushy final texture. Rather, toasted rice releases its starch slowly, so you can create a creamy sauce without losing the perfect ‘al dente’ texture.

Flavours of autumn

Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s move onto the flavours.

Come autumn, we suddenly become drawn to the earthy, russet tones of falling leaves. Perhaps thanks to Halloween traditions in this part of the world, and the appearance of ghostly jack-o-lanterns in porches, we’ll always associate this time of year with cheerful orange pumpkins.

Whether you’re picking your own at the local pumpkin patch, or planning ahead for what you’ll do with your carved pumpkin after Halloween, go organic.

Pumpkins are packed full of incredible health-supporting nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc. The last thing you’ll want to do is tarnish all that goodness by eating a pumpkin grown with artificial fertilisers and pesticides.

If you can, we also strongly recommend making your own pumpkin purée. This is an ideal afternoon activity for a drizzly autumn day, and it requires very little effort or attention.

To make your purée, peel and cut your pumpkin into small cubes and then steam it for 15 minutes. Or, for ultimate ease, chop it into halves or quarters (no need to peel) and microwave for 20 minutes. Then simply tip the cooked pumpkin into a blender and whizz until smooth.

Now, you can use your purée to make risottos like this one, in a pumpkin pie, to add flavour to soups and stews or even in a smoothie. Plus, you’ll know it’s free from any additives or preservatives, as are often present in canned purées.

  pumpkin seed oil

Erbology Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil

Finish off our risotto with a drizzle of our delicious, emerald-green Pumpkin Seed Oil.

This oil has a wonderful story to tell. We source it sustainably from Styria, a state in south eastern Austria, where it has a long tradition as a culinary delicacy. It is made in a unique and rather fascinating way.

Firstly, the ripe seeds are ground with water and salt, and then the mixture is roasted. At this point a dedicated ‘Press Master’ comes in to decide exactly when the mixture is perfectly roasted. Only then can the mixture be cold-pressed to produce the oil.

This traditional method of producing the oil results in a delicious nutty flavour which has become famous the world over.

In Styria, the oil is known as ‘green gold’. However another curious fact about Pumpkin Seed Oil is that it is dichromatic. This rare property means that the oil appears as green or red depending on how much of it there is; a small amount appears green, whereas a thicker layer appears as red!

Regardless of its unusual physical properties, Pumpkin Seed Oil is full of healthy nutrients, just like the squash from which it derives. Pumpkin Seed Oil contains healthy unsaturated fats and phytonutrients which fight free radicals. These would otherwise go onto cause cell damage and ageing.

Just another reason to add a drizzle of green gold to your risotto and enjoy a cosy night in.

Mains

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 2-3 sage leaves, washed and finely chopped + 2 for garnish ½ cup Arborio rice 2 cups pumpkin purée ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk Big pinch of salt 2 cups hot vegetable stock ¼ tsp white pepper 2 tsp plant-based butter White pepper to taste 1 tsp Erbology Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 sage leaves, washed and finely