Roast Pumpkin, Smoked Pancetta and Crispy Sage Risotto with Hazelnuts

This is a fantastic way to use any pumpkin left over from Halloween. A hearty and warm Autumn dish that works really well as a starter or as a main course in itself.
Total Time
1 Hour
1 small pumpkin
300g Arborio Rice
1 stick of celery, finely diced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
100ml of white wine
500ml of chicken stock
6 slices of smoked pancetta
100g of hazelnuts
1 bunch of fresh sage
200g of butter
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
30g of parmesan
Step 1

Prepare your pumpkin by slicing it in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Slice your halves into chunks, coating them in some olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them in the oven on 180c for approximately 30min. When the pumpkin is starting to brown and is soft throughout then remove and set aside. The hazelnuts need to go on a plain baking tray for 10mins so you could always pop these in at the same time as the pumpkin.

Step 2

To make the risotto base, melt 100g of butter in a large heavy bottom pan on a medium to high heat. Add the clove of garlic, shallots and celery and sweat down for approx. 5 mins until the onions and celery have become soft. Be careful not to let the butter burn and add a splash of olive oil if it starts to turn a little brown.

Step 3

Add in the risotto rice and stir thoroughly until the grains are well coated. After another couple of minutes pour in the wine and let bubble on a high heat until it has reduced by 1/3.

Step 4

Reduce the temperature to a simmer - you are now ready to start adding your stock in small amounts and stirring thoroughly after each addition. Your risotto may need a little more, or a little less liquid – you’re looking for al dente rice with all the liquid absorbed.

Step 5

Put half of the pre roasted pumpkin aside and chop the remaining half finely, until almost a paste. Mix the well chopped pumpkin and parmesan in with the risotto until piping hot again and get ready to serve!

Step 6

To make the crispy sage butter, simply melt the remaining 100g of butter in a small sauce pan and add the sage leaves individually. The butter will foam and the leaves darken, which is when it is best to either remove them and dry on a piece of kitchen roll (for very crispy sage) or to pour the delicious sage butter over your finished risotto. At this stage you can either frill the pancetta or chop and panfry until crispy.

Step 7

To serve, place the risotto in the bottom of a bowl (or hollowed out pumpkin) and lay some of the roasted larger pieces of pumpkin on top along with a few shards of pancetta, the sage butter and some chopped toasted hazelnuts. Add parmesan to taste and enjoy!

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