Risotto is a great tasting, filling dish that doesn’t rely on meat. It’s often the standard alternative for vegetarians so it suffers from a bit of a bad reputation but, done well, risotto can make a delicious dinner. The key is again to experiment with different ingredients and techniques. That way, it can be exciting and enjoyable and you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Our risotto uses pearl barley to give it a real Scottish twist. Pumpkin can be a brilliant addition, but you can change the dish throughout the year using a host of seasonal vegetables from spring greens, to summer girolles or autumn root vegetables. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
· Prep the pumpkin into chunky wedges. You can also retain and dry, then roast the pumpkin seeds
· Roast the pumpkin wedges in the oven until golden and well caramelised. Retain some nice pieces to garnish, purée the remaining roasted pumpkin in a blender until smooth. Reserve until later
· Put vegetable stock in a pan to heat
· Sweat the diced shallot in a little olive oil until completely soft. Then add the pearl barley and 50g of butter and lightly ‘roast’ the grains in the butter, without adding any colour
· When the grains appear translucent on the outside begin adding the heated stock, one ladle at a time, whilst stirring very gently but continuously to avoid the grains sticking to the pan
· Continue ladling stock and cooking until the grains are almost cooked through. Then stir in a 50g of butter and some of the pumpkin purée to create a nice orange colour.
· When at the right consistency, remove from the heat and serve with roasted pumpkin seeds, the retained pumpkin pieces, chopped chives, crispy watercress leaves , a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan shavings
Tom Kitchin - Pumpkin risotto CREDIT - Marc Millar