Pumpkin Risotto with fennel and roasted hazelnuts

ac-5369  Making a good risotto is very easy! All it takes are a few good ingredients and some love. Make this risotto for your whole family or for a fine dining with friends. The toasted hazelnuts and the roasted pumpkin seed oil gives it the little something extra ... As always in my risotto recipes, I chose to use short grain brown rice instead of arborio rice to maximize the nutritional value of the dish. Arborio rice is being traditionally used in italian risotto because of it's high starch content, giving the risotto this extra creaminess.    

 Pumpkin Risotto with fennel and roasted hazelnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (300g) dry short grain brown rice, soaked for several hours or overnight
  • 1 lbs (500g) pumpkin ( butternut or acorn squash for example), small dice
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • ¾ cup (175ml) white wine
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable broth
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, washed, stems removed and shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds ground
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Some roasted pumpkin seed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ cup (75g) hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Procedure

  1. Start by roasting the diced pumpkin in the oven. Coat the pumpkin dice with olive oil and salt and roast in the oven at 400° F or 200° C until done. Set aside when done. Be careful not to overcook.
  2. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the onions with a pinch of salt on medium heat, until translucent.
  3. Drain the rice, then add it to the onion and cook for one minute (stir from time to time to prevent from sticking). Add the white wine and cook partially covered until almost absorbed.
  4. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth, the shredded fennel, a pinch of salt and the fennel seeds. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until tender. Add some more vegetable broth if the water is absorbed and the rice is not done yet.
  5. When the rice is done, mix in the nutritional yeast and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Carefully fold in the roasted pumpkin cubes. 
  6. Serve and top with the toasted hazelnuts.
Note about toasting nuts and seeds: Toasting nuts and seeds adds flavor and crispiness. You can toast nuts and seeds either in the oven at 350° F (180° C) by spreading them evenly on a sheet tray, without oil or in a pan on the stove on low heat without oil. Toss from time to time and be careful because they toast very quickly. Set aside to cool down. 
Bon appetit