Butternut pumpkin risotto
In my book, An Argentine in my Kitchen, Pedro makes a chicken and mushroom risotto. Here's an alternative risotto for vegetarians.
4-6 tbsp good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red (Spanish) onion, medium to finely chopped
1/4 large red capsicum - red bell pepper - cut into strips and then across, to make 5mm squares
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2/3 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/2 - 3/4 cup white wine
Vegetable stock - prepare 1 litre. You can use powder and water separately - see method - or ready-made stock.
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cm cubes of butternut pumpkin. Take the solid part of a butternut pumpkin, and cut three or four 2-cm slices, peel them, and then cut these into 2 cm cubes.
30 g butter
2 tbsp grated parmigiano or pecorino or hard cheese of your choice
1 handful of freshly chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
In a heavy-based wide pot or deep frying pan, add 3-4 tbsp olive oil.
Before it gets too hot, add the onion, capsicum and garlic.
Sautée, add a pinch of salt, and then cover to allow the onion to sweat until translucent (3-5 mins).
Remove the lid to allow the sauté to evaporate, add the rest of the olive oil and allow the sauté to heat up again.
Add the rice, and stir constantly at a medium temperature.
Once the rice has become a whiter colour, add the wine, and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
If using a powdered stock, add it now, also the paprika and a ladle full of water, and from now on add hot water.
If adding liquid stock, do it now.
Stir in the pumpkin cubes.
Continue to add stock, a ladle-full at a time, and stir regularly, allowing the rice to absorb the stock and cook, before adding the next ladle-full.
Keep adding stock until the rice is just cooked. This will take 18-20 minutes depending on the rice and the temperature. At this stage the risotto should have a creamy consistency.
Turn off the heat and add the butter. Season to taste.
Before serving, stir in the cheese and sprinkle with parsley.
And as Julia Child would say, 'Bon appétit.'