Autumn has come here in Australia. Temperatures are cooler - still warm enough though in Brisbane but cool enough that I have stopped wearing shorts everyday! Time for AnotherFoodBlogger to whip up some autumnal dishes. The wife has even taken to turning the fire on. WTF! First up using one of my favourite ingredients, pork! This pumpkin pork risotto is crazy good and will have you wanting for more! Think sitting on the couch, cosy pants on, slippers, glass of wine, fire lit and a bowl of this deliciousness in your hand. Scene set!
Right now I am struggling with a cold. Man Flu - it's the worst! I have a list of things I wanted to accomplish the days "princess" was in daycare but bloody typically the day after I get the flu shot I get sick. I'll live but can't help feeling sorry for myself right now. I have a cauliflower, tarragon & bacon soup waiting for me to make it and snap some pics but that may have to wait until another day. Anyone got any magical remedies you wanna share to help me get through it but more importantly help to save my wife's sanity as she listens to my mouth breathing, nose blowing and general whinging. I thought the toddler was bad...........
Time Of The Year
Living down under I find it tough to decide what to write about and cook in my blog posts. Tons of my readers - truthfully there isn't that many but the ones who do read it are scattered throughout the world. Having moved from NYC to Brisbane and prior to that being in Ireland I find it tough to get to grips with what time of the year it is. I write this article wanting to eat more heart warming dishes (even though I am still bbq'ing regularly) but am fully aware the rest of the world is coming out of the cold and starting to heat up. Who do I write for? Do I write articles based upon where I am living or do I go with the rest of the world? First world problems - eh!
Anywho - I've decided to stick with the country I am located in using their seasonal produce. So pumpkin pork risotto it is today! Is pork seasonal?
It defo seems like a daunting task at first but (like everything) once you have made it a few times you will be surprised at how easy it is to make. Simply put when making risotto you have one task and that is to nurture it. Don't head off to the toilet, don't try make a call home to your folks, don't start trying to write a blog post and CERTAINLY don't try make it in the presence of a demanding toddler. Aren't they all? My nearly 3 year old has just started shouting "I want a cuddle" anytime I use the phone in her presence. Not fun, especially when I am trying to make a call!! The key to a good risotto is to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go and then to focus on the task at hand, stirring gently whilst adding hot stock.
You may be wondering what the hell happens when you go to a restaurant. Surely there isn't an octopus in there frantically stirring 8 pots of risotto for all the paying customers is there? Truthfully, you can make risotto in advance which is obviously what restaurants do. There isn't anything wrong with doing it at all but you honestly can't beat a made to order risotto. Check out my wild mushroom risotto on my tips to making risotto in advance.
Aside from being damn right tasty and super versatile pumpkin is full of health benefits
- Rich in vitamin A
- High in antioxidants
- Low in calories - hurray!
- High in fiber
If this doesn't make you wanna use it in your diet and more importantly make this pumpkin pork risotto well I dunno what is then! Enjoy and don't forget to tag me on instagram.
If you are a fan of Rhone grapes/wines then I have just the one for you. Coming in at AUS $30, $27 if you are smart enough to head to winedirect.com.au! The Schwarz GSM is UBER drinkable. 2017 wasn't the best vintage in Barossa but what the guys have done at the Schwarz company is a wine that you would think came from one of the better vintages! You get notes of soft red fruit, violet, mulberries, and licorice too alongside juicy tannins, perfectly balanced acidity, and a touch of oak. With ratings of 94 points from both Huon Hooke & Nick Butler, it's defo a great drop.
Why does it work with pumpkin pork risotto you say? Cause it simply does! The risotto is earthy, rich, creamy, and a little salty from the bacon and parmesan topping. So when picking a wine we don't want something with nice balanced acidity to counteract the fat & saltiness of the bacon. We want a wine that's not too big nor too light either. Picky much? Not really. Truth is we all just want a good drop to pair with some great food and that's what we have here in the Schwarz 2017 GSM. Neither risotto nor wine is fighting to be the star of the show nor are they happy to take a backseat. I would best describe it as Ronaldo & Messi going for the golden boot. Both worthy of the win, both epic competitors that at the end of the day are equally talented in their own right and a joy to watch (or eat/drink in this case!).
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 150 g pumpkin or squash
- 200 ml water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch chili flakes optional
- 1 knob butter
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 75 ml white wine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g butter
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 slices streaky bacon cut into lardons
- 100 g pumpkin or squash chopped into 1 cm cubes
- 1 tsp thyme chopped
- pumpkin seeds
- chili flakes
- Heat oil in saucepan and add onions - cook for 2/3 minutes
- Add pumpkin & garlic and cook for a further 2/3 minutes and then add rest of ingredients (except butter) and cook for 8 - 10 minutes
- Blend adding butter at the end. Taste & season accordingly
- Heat stock in saucepan and leave at a simmer
- Fry bacon lardons on high heat until crispy and set aside.
- Cook shallot & garlic in pan on medium - high heat with oil & 25g butter.
- Add rice and cook for 2/3 minutes, stirring continuously so it doesn't stick. Add white wine, stir and cook for a further 2/3 minutes until wine reduces.
- Gradually add stock to rice, 1 soup ladle at a time. Stir continuously until rice has soaked up all stock - approx 25/30 minutes. With about 5 minutes until finished add cubed pumpkin so it cooks through the risotto.
- When risotto is nearly finished add 4 tbsp of the pumpkin puree and stir through. Add bacon, thyme, butter & parmesan cheese and gently mix together.
- Serve risotto in a bowl and garnish it with thyme, chili flakes, pumpkin seeds and more parmesan cheese.
- chopping board
- sharp knives
- hand blender or food processor
- risotto pan or large high sided frying pan
- wooden spoon
- soup ladle
- measuring utensils
- cheese grater
- when working with risotto it's important to stay close - it needs to be continuously stirred but not overworked.
- risotto rice can be made in advance. It defo tastes better when cooked to order but if you want to save time for a dinner party then cook the risotto rice until its about 60 - 75% done and then remove from heat and spread thin in a baking sheet to cool asap. Heat it up again when ready to serve by adding stock and continuing the cooking process