The Coastal Star

Roasted pumpkin risotto
Chef Ernesto de Blasi,
Caffe Luna Rosa

1 small pumpkin (calabaza preferred) – see note
½ pound applewood smoked bacon (cut into 1 inch pieces)
4 ounces medium-bodied red wine
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 to 6 cups of hot chicken stock or vegetable stock
½ cup grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces demi glaze or reduced beef stock

Note: To prepare pumpkin, cut in half and remove seeds. Bake one-half in 350-degree oven till tender, about 45 minutes, then puree. For remainder, peel, dice small and saute in oil/butter mixture over medium heat until tender.

For bacon au jus: In a sauté pan over medium heat, brown the bacon until crisp but not burnt. Remove the bacon and add red wine. Reduce by half. Add demi glaze, reduce to desired thickness; set aside.

For risotto: In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil.

    Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover the rice completely, about 3 cups, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
    Pour in 1 cup more of the remaining stock and stir and cook until it has been absorbed. Repeat with 1 more cup. Add the remaining cup and cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente, tender but still very chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
    Stir in the pumpkin puree and the diced pumpkin and reduce the heat to very low so that risotto no longer simmers. Stir in the Parmesan and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish.  
    Serve in a shallow bowl with a drizzle of the bacon au jus and topped with crispy bacon.
    Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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