• Cooking Time: Under 30 mins
  • Cuisine: Other
  • Main Ingredient: Pumpkin
  • Preparation Time: Under 30 mins
  • Serves: 4+


  • 1 red onion
    1 leek
    1 clove of garlic
    50g butter
    2 dessertspoons extra virgin olive oil
    200g Arborio rice
    600ml stock, preferably vegetable
    250g diced pumpkin flesh
    25g hazelnuts
    25g pumpkin seeds
    1 large bunch fresh sage


Richard Hughes makes a great favourite for early suppers.

Richard Hughes makes a great favourite for early autumnal suppers.

A few years ago, the only thing that people were interested in when it came to pumpkins and squashes was how big they could grow them. Often taste and flavour were sacrificed in the pursuit of weight and circumference, and dark tails of sabotage before local shows and fetes was the stuff of a Miss Marple story line.

Today, largely thanks to the influence of the likes of Locatelli, Oliver et al, these fantastic vegetables are being recognised for what they are; inexpensive, versatile and very easy to grow. Take a trip out along the Fens and the scene resembles a lunar landscape with all manner of colours, shapes and sizes.

They make the most beautiful, velvety soups and are terrific roasted

with a leg of pork. You can, of course, even make the all-American favourite of pumpkin pie.

A mainstay of the Italian diet is this pumpkin risotto, a great favourite for early autumnal suppers. Topped with fresh sage and toasted hazelnuts, it’s a real favourite of mine. On occasions, the more creative cook has been known to finish it with some crushed amoretti biscuits, which is one of those strange ideas; it shouldn’t work, but it does!

This Halloween, don’t just hollow out your pumpkin and place it in the window, have it for your supper!

Pumpkin risotto:

1. Finely chop the red onion, the washed leek and the garlic.

2. Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy pan, add the onion, leek and garlic, cook until softened.

3. Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin into wedges, remove the seeds and peel.

4. Chop the flesh into chunks.

5. Add the rice to the softened onion mix. Cook for around two minutes, stirring, until all the rice is coated with the oil and butter.

6. Add the boiling stock to the rice, beginning with a ladle at a time, just covering the mixture. Keep stirring until the stock is absorbed.

7. Add the pumpkin flesh.

8. Gradually add the rest of the stock. Adjust the heat so the mixture slowly absorbs the stock, resulting in a creamy texture, with a slight bite to each grain.

9. Toast the sunflower seeds and the nuts. Add to the risotto.

10. Add a good bunch of chopped sage. Season with freshly milled pepper and salt. Drizzle with hazelnut oil, or, better still, pumpkin seed oil.

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