Welcome to October, folks!
Is it just me, or did September just fly by? And the summer before that? Life feels like it goes so fast sometimes; I wish it would just slow down.
So, here we are in October, the month of jack-o-lanterns and turkey. I bought a bunch of sweaters (though I haven’t yet worn my boots), and I put away the fan and got out the comforter.
Pumpkin spice season is in full swing, and guys, I don’t care if it makes me basic, I am loving it. Not Starbucks PS Lattes per se (I have one per year), but the whole pumpkin spice movement.
First of all, if you’re using actual gourds (pumpkins or squashes), those guys are really good for you. Fibre, beta carotene, potassium and magnesium are some great reasons to wrestle with one of these tough-skinned veggies.
Actually, this year, I did very little wrestling. I bought a medium-sized Kabocha squash at my local farm market, brought it home, and crashed through it with my big kitchen knife. I scraped out the seeds with a spoon, then I put it in the Instant Pot with some water for 10 minutes and it was good to go. After it was cooked, I peeled off the skin, then I ran it through the blender to make sure it was nice and pureed.
I prefer cooking with squash over pumpkin. The two are basically interchangeable, and squash has less water content than pumpkin, and in the case of Kabocha, it’s sweeter, too.
I have two pumpkin spiced recipes for you this week; one sweet, one savoury.
You can also click here to see a whole list of my favourite pumpkin recipes through the years.
Today’s recipe is a reboot. Apparently I’ve been doing this long enough now that I need to reboot some of my recipes. Also, when I sent this link to someone last week, they informed me I’d left out a crucial ingredient. Sigh.
I made this for dinner the other night, and it had this great sweet-savoury thing going on that made me so very happy.
Also, don’t be afraid of risotto. Everyone is, but there’s no need. The important things to remember are to use a short-grained rice, add your warm stock a little at a time, and stir, stir, stir.
I think I might make this again for Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂
(serves 2 and a bit)
- 3/4 cup aborio rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter (use vegan butter to keep this vegan)
- 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin or squash
- 1 tsp fresh thyme or sage, chopped fine
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 4-6 cups vegetable stock
- freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional, or vegan parm)
- truffle oil (optional, but holy does it make it decadent)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a saucepan, heat the vegetable stock to boiling. Once it’s come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot (I used my 6 quart Staub dutch oven) over medium heat, heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, stir to coat in the oil, and allow to cook until translucent. You may want to reduce the heat a little if you see the edges of the onions picking up some caramelization. Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
- Add the rice and stir everything together until the rice is coated in the oil and onions and garlic. Add the squash/pumpkin, herbs, and another pinch of salt. Deglaze the pan with the wine.
- Add a ladle or two of stock to the pan, and allow it to come to a boil. Stir the risotto fairly continuously, adding another ladle of stock as needed (the rice will absorb the stock, and as you’re stirring, if you begin to see the bottom of the pan, add another ladle), until all the stock is in the pan, and the rice isn’t hard in the middle.
- Add the final pat of butter, and the cheese if you’re using it, stir well, and remove from the heat. Test for seasoning and add more salt if needed (remember parmesan cheese is quite salty, so it affects the flavour). Place a lid on and let it sit for a few minutes before serving with additional lashings of grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil (or plain olive oil if you don’t have any).