Pumpkin can be used in pasta dishes, in soups and, in this case, in a risotto. This is a very simple recipe, much loved in Lombardy and throughout the Po Valley – where, of course, most of the Italian risotto rice is grown. You could also use any type of squash, apart from, perhaps, spaghetti squash!
Put the stock in a suitable pot on the stove, next to where you will make the risotto, and keep it warm.
Heat half the butter in a large shallow pan, and fry the onion for about 10 minutes, until softened a little. Add the grated pumpkin and fry for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir around to coat each grain with fat. Pour in the wine, and let this evaporate for a couple of minutes. Now start adding the hot stock in ladlefuls. Start to stir, and as soon as the first lot of liquid is absorbed, add some more, but not enough to drown it. Repeat for about 15–20 minutes – stirring and adding stock – which is when you should taste a grain of rice for your preferred al dente texture. Keep the rice moist but not too wet.
Add the rest of the butter, the nutmeg and cinnamon, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan and parsley and stir in. Serve. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan if required.
This is an edited extract from Vegetables by Antonio Carluccio published by Hardie Grant RRP $49.99 available in stores nationally.