Autumn Pumpkin and Smoked Cheese Risotto
A wonderful seasonal variation on our basic risotto recipe. Pumkin and squash are worth so much more that soup or pie!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
Half a leek, sliced
2 smoked garlic gloves, finely chopped (often found on continental markets and in wholefood shops. Use ordinary garlic if you can't find any smoked)
10 oz fresh pumpkin flesh, shredded (I grate it!)
12oz arborio rice
4 fl oz white wine
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock (two stock cubes in boiling water is fine)
Half a 'Smokey Risella' vegan mozzarella, cut into smallish chunks (any mozzarella substitute can be used if you can't find the smokey one, but I find this adds wonderful flavour to an autumnal dish).
Half a block of vegan hard cheese, such as a mature cheddar alternative, grated. Vegan Applewood is perfect!
1 large mushroom (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and leek cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and pumpkin and cook to soften them too.
Add the rice and stir well to coat the rice in the oil. Pour in the white wine and allow to reduce before starting to add the stock. It is best added half a pint at a time and allow the liquid to reduce before adding another. It takes about 40 minutes before the rice will turn translucent and all the stock will be used up. Keep stirring regularly as you do not want it to stick to the pan.
If you want to include mushroom cut it into sections and fry it off in a little olive oil.I add this as an option because I'm not fond of mushrooms and my other half loves them, so I usually cook a few separately and add them to the top of his serving!
When the risotto is creamy (not too liquid, but not a stodgy lump!) take it off the heat. If it is too dry add some boiling water and stir until it has started to be absorbed, taking it off the heat before it dries out again)
Add the smokey mozzarella to the risotto and stir in so it just begins to get soft. It doesn't matter if it doesn't melt immediately as by the time it's served up it will have done it's thing.
Spoon the risotto into your serving dishes and sprinkle over the grated hard cheese. Top with mushrooms if you are using them.
Serve as soon as possible so that the cheese is still melting when it is brought to table.
Mozza-Risella is availble from many online outlets and good vegan stores. Its perfect for this kind of recipe, but plain or other vegan cheeses do just as good if you can't find it. It's important to find one that melts well!