This dish always gets 100% great feedback. Everybody loves this pumpkin risotto, without the usage of rice. It is the pumpkin which will give the body and structure to this dish. A very tasty and interesting vegan starter for a dinner party!
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
🥘 Main ingredients
- Pumpkin (red curry squash or butternut)
- white wine
- vegetable stock
- nutritional yeast
- avocado oil or vegan butter
- sweet paprika powder
- espelette pepper or aleppo pepper
What is Espelette pepper?
Espelette is a pepper from the French Basque region. It is considered a mild pepper, and therefore very versatile in its usage. I love this pepper, as it gives a nice comforting warmth, without a spiky heat. There is a slight little smokiness to this pepper, especially when bought in powder. You can substitute this pepper with aleppo pepper. Or mix 50% sweet paprika powder with 25% smoked paprika and 25% chili powder.
💭 Tips and thoughts
Let's talk chopping.
This dish is all about your knife skills. The flesh of the pumpkin will have to be chopped by knife (not machine), in order to get the right texture. There fore the preparation will take a bit of time, But believe me it is worth it!
Think of the approximate size of a large risotto grain (can be slightly larger). So 2 - 3 mm in size maximum. Take your time while chopping, and make sure to have good light.
The delicious natural nuttiness of this pumpkin risotto goes heavenly with the roasted spiced hazelnuts.
To get the perfect hazelnuts. Roast them first for 10 minutes, than let them slightly cool. Followed by a good rub in a kitchen towel or paper towel. This will break the skin of the hazelnuts. It is not necessary that all the nuts are fully skinned.
Next add the oil and spices and rub it well onto the nuts. Roast for another 10 - 15 minutes, and you will end up with the perfect spiced nuts.
🥗 Serving ideas
This dish goes beautifully on its own, it really does not need anything else. It is so rich, creamy together with the crunch and slight spice of the nuts nothing is needed. So I would feel very comfortable serving this as a starter.
But if you do want to make it into a full meal, than there are tons of options.
- A great pairing would be with roasted cauliflower; As cauliflower has its natural nuttiness it pairs well with this risotto. For example like this picture above, in which I placed the cumin roasted cauliflower on a bed of roasted pumpkin and roasted garlic puree, with a bit of acidity of the lemon. Or go for the famous cauliflower steak!
- But you can take another path, and pair it with earthy, natural flavours. Like roasted beetroot.
- Mushrooms would make this a true autumn dish - Just sauteed with garlic and parsley.
- And add crispy roasted kale chips to any as a topping! Great for colour and salty crunchiness! (Rub some kale leaves in olive oil and coarse sea salt and roast in a low temperature oven until crispy)
- True Mediterranean style would be to add a nice vegetable terrine.
🍷 Wine Pairing
This dish is nutty and creamy, a typical autumn / winter style dish. Rich & intense, the remarkable acidity, buttery notes with often citrus, exotic fruits and vanilla and / or honey of the Corton Charlemagne, would pair magically. Especially an aged one.
On a lower budget than a Corton Charlemagne, you could choose the excellent neighboring Ladoix, 1cru. Or just keep in mind to go for a nice, full, round rich white, with a good balance of acidity. If Burgundy is not in your budget, think of Languedoc blend with roussanne and marsanne. There you can find the roundness, nicely balanced with freshness.
I hope you will find pleasure in serving this pumpkin risotto to your guests. You can use it as a starter, or pair it as a side dish. Have fun with it, and let me know your creative thoughts down below, or through instagram; @haricoco1
For the pumpkin risotto
- 125 grams (1 cup) pumpkin (red curry squash or butternut) Peeled & Very finely chopped to the size of a risotto rice grain
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 garlic finely chopped
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) white wine
- 115 ml (½ cup) vegetable stock
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil , or knob of vegan butter
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
For the spiced hazelnuts
- 70 grams (½ cup) raw hazelnuts whole
- 1 teaspoon espelette pepper, or aleppo pepper substitute by ½tsp sweet paprika powder + ¼tsp chili powder)
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- drizzle of olive oil
For the spiced hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
- Put the hazelnuts on a roasting tray, and roast them for approx. 10 minutes.
- Take the nuts out of the oven and leave them to slightly cool a bit in a kitchen towel.
- Fold the kitchen towel closed, and rub the hazelnuts in the kitchen towel, so most of the dark skins falls off. (it is not necessary that they are fully de-skinned)
- Place the skinned hazelnuts in a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Rub the nuts well through the oil and spices.
- Put the nuts back on the roasting tray, and roast for another 10 / 15 minutes.
- Leave to cool, and chop them roughly.
For the pumpkin risotto
- Peel and Chop the pumpkin (potimarron or butternut) in very fine and even cubes, approx. 2 – 3 mm. cubes. As there is no rice used in this risotto,the pumpkin cubs represent the risotto rice.
- In a small pot or pan heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and sauté with a pinch of salt until translucent.
- Add the finely chopped garlic, and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the finely chopped pumpkin and stir it well through the shallots and garlic, for 3 minutes.
- Pour in the white wine on high heat, and let it reduce almost fully.
- Add the stock and bring it to the boil, leave it to boil uncovered until the liquid is almost reduced completely and the pumpkin is cooked.
- Add the avocado oil (or vegan butter) and the nutritional yeast. Stir well
- Check the seasoning.