Pumpkin, Leek & Cashew Risotto

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Risotto is a splendid dish originating from regions in Northern Italy. Italians may scoff at my unusual risotto but I heartily recommend my rustic recipe (#imbiased).

It truly is a shame that pumpkin is popular for only 2 months per year. But, while we’re smack in the middle of this time period, why not add pumpkin to every recipe possible? As you may know, at the moment, I’ve reached a point where I’m even including it in my breakfast. What’s not to love, pun’kin’s have a delicate soft texture, a mildly sweet taste, plus, they are nutritional beasts. They are a gold mine of vitamins A, C and E which are fantastic for skin health, as well as a source of magnesium (to strengthen your bones) and potassium (to keep blood pressure within optimal range). Pumpkin helps carve out good health!

Today, all your pumpkin dreams are coming true. I bring you: amazingly easy pumpkin risotto. Just for your enjoyment (and those you love!).  Warming, comforting, saucy, luxuriously creamy and rich, the uniqueness of this recipe is impressive.

This was my pioneering attempt at making risotto. I’d made it before, albeit from a box (not sure if that counts, haha). This dish is composed of squash, leek, cashews and healthy olive oil, and is scented with woodsy sage and cinnamon. Veggie broth imparts a lovely colour and extra flavour flave. I’ve taken the liberty of swapping traditional risotto rice for brown rice. Italian white wine brings all the flavours together nicely.

This recipe wound up making enough grub to feed a literal mini army. During a get-together with 8 family members last Friday, all 8 guests received reasonably portioned rations of this communal meal 🙂 . Eight hungry mouthes soon were 8 content tummies.

Keeping with the fall spirit, here’s a recipe as seasonal as they come.

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

Nota bene: If you do not have pumpkin on hand, any other squash, like butternut, would do just fine.

For the sauce:

  • ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 cup soy or almond beverage, unsweetened
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped pumpkin, steamed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

For the risotto:

  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup leeks, diced
  • 1 cup diced pumpkin, blanched
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ tbsp. fresh sage, minced
  • 3 tbsp. parsley, minced
  • 3 cups cooked short grain brown rice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Make the sauce. In a high-power blender or food processor, mix the pumpkin, cashews, cinnamon, almond or soy beverage, vegetable stock, sea salt and garlic until smooth.

2. Meanwhile, on medium heat, sauté the leeks in olive oil and white wine on medium heat in a pan, stirring until golden-coloured.

3.  Add the diced pumpkin and continue to sauté. Next, add in the brown rice, sage and parsley.

5. Add the cashew and pumpkin sauce to the rice and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to stir until risotto begins to thicken. If ever the risotto becomes overly thick, add a touch of vegetable broth to thin ‘er out.

6. Season with cracked black pepper, to taste.

7. Serve warm.

8. Smile!

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Come and get your love (best song ever!!), and by love I mean risotto! By the way, you need to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie; ah-mah-zing soundtrack! Marvel strikes again 😉 .

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