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Pumpkin and Gaeta Olives RisottoThere’s nothing we can do. It’s the pumpkin season! And while we wait for the coming of  The Great Pumpkin with Charlie Brown and Linus, well by now for the next year, let’s comfort ourself with this savory rice recipe!

Just a 2 fundamental notes before starting:

1) I don’t really know if the kind of olives used in this recipe, Itrana or Gaeta, are available outside Italy, so if you don’t know how to find them, you may use black or red olives. If I may make a suggestion, you should avoid green olives because they are too bland for the purpose.

2) The second matter it’s about the mantecatura which is, many of you surely know, the cooking process for obtaining a perfect creamy rice. It’s very simple to do, but maybe a little boring. Actually you have to regularly pour hot stock in the rice saucepan or wok, just the amount necessary for covering the rice surface with the liquid, and then you have to slowly stir while the liquid gentle simmers without boiling. When you see the rice a little dried, add another cup of the hot stock and repeat the process. You have to do this until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender. All this process lasts about 18-20 minutes depending on the rice quality. Remember that the flavour of a creamy rice depends on the stock, so be careful using the salt during the preparation of the recipes that needs mantecatura.

And now the recipe!

Ingredients for 4 servings

– 800 g (3,5 oz) diced fresh Pumpkin
– 100 g (1/2 cup) minced Itrana Olives or Olive di Gaeta
– 1 minced white onion
– about 1,5 – 2 l (8,7 cups) hot vegetable stock (amount needed can vary, so better having stock in excess than to be done all over again)
– 320 g  (1-1,5 cups) Carnaroli Rice. Serving size about 80 g.
– a pinch of nutmeg (hey, you mean Noce Moscata!)
– salt and pepper to taste
– 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
– 15 g (1 tbsp) butter
– grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Instructions

1- Take a large saucepan or a wok, add the olive oil and regulate the heat to medium fire. When the oil is heated, add the garlic and the minced olives and gentle sauté the mixture.

2-
When the onion becomes a little golden stir the diced pumpkin in.
Add salt (don’t exaggerate with salt as I said in the mantecatura’s paragraph), pepper and and a pinch of nutmeg and give a stir.

3– Cook the pumpkin for about 10 minutes or until it becomes a little dried then add the rice. Cook for about 1 minute stirring the rice.

4- Now comes the boring part, the Mantecatura! Read up for details! C’mon, pour the stock and stir, pour the stock and stir! Be patient and don’t go around watching telly because the rice might burn… Ok, it happened to me, I know colpa mia!
Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and check the flavour! Add salt if needed.

5- When it’s almost done, add the butter and stir. Serve the rice with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to taste and decorate the dish with some olives if you like.

Buon Appetito!

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