This is an old favourite of ours. It's one of the first meals we made together. It's from one of the first cook books we owned together. We made it in the first house we lived in together. We made it when we both got home from work on a Friday night and opened a bottle of red wine and collapsed on the couch together. We made it for our friends when we had our first "dinner parties" - feeling very grown-up together. And after many meals, cook books, houses, jobs and dinner parties, we're still making it - together.
Pumpkin and Poppy Seed Risotto
from Geoff Slattery's Simple Flavours
1 onion. chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on the pumpkin
2 cups Arborio rice
plenty of stock (I used organic vegetable, but chicken stock would be good too)
1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm dice
plenty of tarragon, leaves picked
a good amount of thyme, leaves picked
fresh ground black pepper
about 40g parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
30g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Put the pumpkin on a baking tray drizzle with olive oil to coat and roast for about 30 minutes or until cook through and a little golden at the edges.
Put the stock in a pan and bring to boil. Keep the stock at a low simmer during the making of the risotto. You want to add it while it's hot so that it doesn't halt the cooking process every time you add it.
Cook the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until the softened.
Toss in the rice and stir it around on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
Add a ladle of boiling stock, stirring through the rice until the stock has been absorbed. Repeat about five more times, stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock. Keep stirring to release the starch from the rice. This makes the end risotto creamy. Test to see if it's cooked. It should be al dente - cooked through but still firm to the bite.
When the risotto has reached the ideal state - it should have some pourability - add the pumpkin and the herbs and season with salt and pepper. When you're happy that everything is cook to your liking and nice and hot remove it from the heat. Toss in the poppy seeds, parmesan and butter. Stir vigorously to get the desired texture (I like mine really creamy - so I beat the hell out of it). Put a lid on it and let it rest for 2 minutes. Serve with extra parmesan at the table.