Friday, February 1, 2019

pumpkin risotto

Despite all the differences that divide us, sometimes we are forcibly brought together by an external common circumstance like these days: the extreme cold weather!
As many areas of the world are going through some exceptionally freezing temperatures, we can only think about one thing to keep ourselves warm and happy:

Pumpkin Risotto 

with red ale ... optional

topped with (optional) crunchy bacon bites... 

some of the pumpkins sold at the Porta Palazzo market in Turin 

Taking advantage of the seasonal pumpkin wedges still available pretty much in every Italian market and grocery store, and an optional, yet often shared by many, passion for bacon or some cooked ham and ale, we came up with this wintry risotto recipe par excellence.
Its golden color will reactivate your solar and sacral plexus, totally warming you up from your inside out.

Pumpkin is a common ingredient in the Northern Italian cuisine and it is also rather versatile as besides risottos, you can also make gnocchi, soups, raviolis, breads and focaccias.
Bacon and ale speak for themselves as they can be enjoyed on their own and always add an extra touch wherever you use them. Naturally, though, like in fashion, they can also be left out, both or only one of them, depending on the personal dietary preferences, or for a more simple taste.

Traditionally in Italy, we make risotto with our native grown short grain varieties

Recipe for 4 Italian portions (to be eaten followed by another course), or 2 portions - if like us, you love to indulge in risotto 😋:

  • 1lb - 454 gr of gourd cut into small cubes 
  • If you like beer, red ale will give this risotto a whole new twist 😜 instead of using the classic white wine to sauté the rice
  • Sizzle and cut into bites 4 bacon strips or 2 slices of cooked ham
  • For vegans: you can use vegetable stock and butter substitute for the risotto base
  • For vegans and vegetarians: leave out the bacon or ham
If you fell victim of the cold or are experiencing a throat-ache or earache, we recommend you add 1/4 tsp - 0.75 gr of ground turmeric and a pinch of pepper to activate it. This simple touch will add extra color and healing power to your risotto, making it a super dish!

For the risotto basic recipe click here.

risotto topped with crunchy ham by
Before serving, we normally like to fold in 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of heavy whipping cream  and sprinkle our risotto with parmesan cheese, but you are welcome to experiment and try subbing the cream with 2-3 tbs of some fresh cheese like ricotta. Even better if you have access to Piedmont robiola cheese or toma.

For extra crunchiness and color contrast, bacon lovers can top their plates with sizzled bacon bites too. Wherever bacon isn't readily available, try some sizzled cooked ham like in the picture. All you need is a skilled to sizzle the ham in its own fat.

This risotto pairs well with all kinds of meats - think of roasted turkey or pork roast, as well as all vegetable side dishes: from French fries to bulgur salads.

Needless to tell you that the bacon bites make it a great brunch dish too 😉

What to drink with this wintry risotto?
risotto topped with bacon bites and robiola by Giallo Zaffeano

  • if you love beer, you should totally drink the same red ale or mild beer you used to sauté the rice. Turin has always had many breweries and Piedmont is home to many labels! 
  • if you are more into wine, we naturally recommend you choose some Piedmont wines to keep the terroir. If you like reds, pick some medium-bodied red wines like: Barbera, Dolcetto, Pelaverga . As for white wines: Arneis, Erbaluce, Gavi, Timorasso or even a dry bubbly one like: Alta Langa

If you are having risotto patties for brunch with extra cheese, go for the intriguing sweet-savory conrast pairing them with Moscato or Asti Spumante 😝

Of course we are biased and strongly believe risotto is heart-warming per se but especially in the coldest days of the year, this recipe really warms up your heart and soul, making everyone at your table giggly. And it is a quick and stylish dish too 😎

To learn how to make risotto like a local Turinese and to try new local versions in town, include one of our cooking classes and experiential tours to your travel to Turin.

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