Stuffed pumpkins

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
1 to 2 hours

Serves
Serves 4

Dietary
Vegetarian

By Ben Tish

Ingredients

  • 4 small pumpkins, tops cut off about a fifth of the way down and insides scooped out and discarded (remove the seeds and stringy flesh but leave in the tender outer flesh)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 125g/4½oz risotto rice, such as Arborio rice
  • 850ml/1½ pint chicken or vegetable stock (or as much as needed)
  • 200g/7oz pumpkin flesh (skin removed), finely diced
  • 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
  • 100g/3½oz pecorino cheese (or alternative vegetarian hard cheese) , finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • 50g/1¾oz pistachio nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Season the small pumpkins and tops with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and roast for 45 minutes–1 hour, or until caramelised and just cooked through. Set aside.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion. Sweat for 5 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Add the rice, season again and stir to coat in the oil. Gradually add the stock, stirring as you go, and cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked through.

  3. While the rice is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan and cook the pumpkin dice until just coloured. Add a splash of stock and cook for 10–15 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.

  4. A few minutes before the rice is ready, add the pumpkin purée, butter and half of the cheese. Stir together, season with salt and pepper and then remove from the heat. The risotto should be quite thick and creamy. Stir in most of the pistachio nuts, leaving a few for the garnish.

  5. Divide the risotto between the pumpkins, slightly over filling, and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and pistachios. Put the lids on top and serve.

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