Pumpkin Risotto With Asiago Cheese
November, 2002

Serves 4-6 / This colorful risotto, created by Chef John Crossley-Hall of Cassis Bistro in Victoria, serves as a festive entrée or side dish. The freshly squeezed lemon juice is key to bringing out the risotto's flavor. Vancouver Islanders take their gourds seriously; pumpkin patches dot farmland throughout the Saanich Peninsula, and prize pumpkins can top the scales at around 350 pounds.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 leek, white part only, peeled and finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small pumpkin, peeled and finely diced
1 pinch ground or grated nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1 lemon, halved
Freshly grated or shaved Asiago or Parmesan cheese, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat until foam
2. Add olive oil and onion and sweat until onion softens. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Add leek, garlic, and pumpkin and sweat over low heat until pumpkin softens, 20-30 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg and cloves.
3. Add rice and stir it around the pot, making sure each kernel is well coated with oil. Increase heat to medium, add white wine, and cook until liquid is reduced by half.4. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 cup vegetable stock, stirring constantly as risotto simmers, until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock in 1-cup increments and stirring until the risotto is soft, about 30-35 minutes. Adjust stock amount as necessary to moisten risotto to a creamy, firm texture.
5. Squeeze lemon over risotto, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide onto plates. Grate or shave desired amount of cheese over risotto. Serve immediately.

Calories 486,Fat 7,Perfat 14,Cholesterol 8,Carbo 95,Protein 10