Pumpkin And Meatball Risotto

Risotto will always have a special place in my culinary heart.  It was one of the very first proper dinner recipes I ventured out and tried to master.  Anyone who dined at my house between 1994 – 2003 would have no doubt been served a risotto.  I was budget conscious and risottos were incredibly cheap as I would do mostly tomato risottos.

Since our children have started to eat with us the risottos have slowed down.  My kids don’t have a streak of Italian in them as not one of them likes to eat risotto.  I have tried the most basic risotto with just a good grating of cheese, pumpkin risottos and chicken risotto but their plates remained untouched.  It seems ironic they don’t like them as I thought the creamy combination of rice, butter and cheese would be ideal nursery food.  I find the combination truly comforting.

So this beautiful risotto was for Joel and me.  I found the recipe in the Matthew Evans book ‘Winter On The Farm’ and as it was quite cold and blustery over the weekend it was the perfect warming supper.

I used pork and fennel sausages that had a little chilli in them and the flavours just melded and infused into every single grain of rice.  The pumpkin was grated into the risotto and the end product was little flecks of orange which looked beautiful.  I followed the recipe to every single specified gram and millilitre and it was successful.  I absolutely loved it.  Joel absolutely loved it.  This is possibly going to the number three position in my top 10 risotto experiences.

pumpkin and meatball risotto

(from Matthew Evans book ‘Winter On The Farm’)

200g pork sausage meat
40g butter
200g (about 1 large) leek, white part only, rinsed and finely chopped
200g pumpkin, grated or cut into 2mm dice
400g risotto rice
200ml good quality white wine
1.5 – 2 litres chicken stock, simmering in a saucepan
80g Parmesan, finely grated

Break up the sausage meat into little meatballs about 1.5cm in diameter.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan (I used a 30cm non-stick pan that worked a dream) melt the butter over a medium heat.  Add the mini meatballs and let them sizzle and brown all over.

Reduce the heat and add the leeks.  Cook, stirring often, for 4 -5 minutes or until leeks are soft then add the pumpkin and rice.  Stir for a couple of minutes then add the wine.  Increase the heat and stir until the wine has all been absorbed.

Then add a ladle of the simmering stock to the risotto and keep stirring the risotto.  Once the stock has been absorbed add another ladle of stock.  Continue until 1.5 litres of stock have been used.  Check if the rice is cooked, it should have just a slight, slight bite to it.  If it needs more cooking just continue with one ladle of stock at a time until the rice is perfect.

Take the risotto off the heat and stir through half the cheese.  Allow the risotto rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with the remaining cheese and a good grinding of fresh black pepper.

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22 Responses to Pumpkin And Meatball Risotto

  1. Megan says:

    That is high praise indeed so we shall HAVE to try it. Dan is the rissotto master here…purely because I’m a ‘bit of this, bit of that’ cook and he follows recipes to the exact gram…given he’s a nervous cook!!!

    • natalie says:

      I have tried the same approach ‘a bit of this, bit of that’ with risottos and it is never as good as following a good risotto recipe very carefully. Yes get Dan onto this one – really good!!!

  2. Naomi Chambers says:

    Looks fabulous, but now need to also know your no.1 and no.2…..

    • natalie says:

      Well number 1 position is held by a risotto I had in Italy but then I’m not sure the order of the others. I had a porcini risotto recipe which was so spot on. I was exact in every measurement and it worked a dream every single time. But it got lost and I’m still very sad about that. The other top risotto is a Jamie Oliver – a roasted pumpkin risotto with thyme and mascarpone. I’ve made that one a lot.

  3. I’ve not tried risotto on my little one yet, but would have thought the same as you – that it’s a great nursery food. Either way, this dish looks great. Will have to give it a go!

  4. I just got back to uni yesterday stocked with 2 big bags of arborio rice so i have a feeling this delicious looking recipe will come in very handy! :)

  5. Wow… I’ve never been this tempted by risotto…. There’s pumpkin and there’s meatball… I can’t ask for anymore, except second servings…

  6. This is beautiful and delicious looking. What a perfect meal for a cold fall day. You have inspired me to pull out my arborio rice and get cooking. Yum!

  7. Danguole says:

    Oh lord, that looks fantastic–interesting flavors and lots of comfort!

  8. I just made this for a small get together and it was a HIT! Thank you so much for the recipe.
    -Lynn

  9. Lisa S says:

    This recipe looks so delicious. As I do not use any alcohol for cooking or drinking, what is a good alternative for the white wine besides just using more stock?

    • natalie says:

      Hi Lisa, I would just add extra stock or maybe just water. If adding extra salt just make sure the stock isn’t too salty. Even without the wine it will be one delicious risotto!

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  12. Sophie C says:

    Wow, this was delicious, thank you!

    I hope you’ll post more risotto recipes!

  13. Beth says:

    Did you mean to say “Take the risotto off the heat and stir through half the parmesan” as the last step?

    • natalie says:

      Sorry Beth for the slow response. I really hope you don’t have that half finished risotto still on the stovetop waiting for my response. Yes I did mean to say it! I take the risotto off the heat then stir through half the parmesan. The residual heat melts the cheese and then you just sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese over the risotto once served – or on the table for everyone to help themselves to.

      • natalie says:

        Sorry again Beth. I’ve just read what I actually wrote ‘stir through half the rice’ instead of ‘stir through half the parmesan. I understand now!!! I will fix that up now and thanks for letting me know! I trust you didn’t follow my incorrect instructions! Nat

        • Beth says:

          Just come back to make this again and saw your comment (six months later!) I guessed it was half the cheese but as you mentioned you had followed the recipe to the letter i just wanted to double check. I can be a bit of a modifier when it comes to cooking and the first time I made this I’m proud to say I followed everything just so. I’m rebelling a little today and going to try it in my rice cooker! It usually makes great risottos…..

          • natalie says:

            I can be a bit of a modifier myself but occasionally I stay true to the recipe. Just occasionally!

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