Wanted in Rome recipe: Risotto con zucca e gorgonzola

By Kate Zagorski.
For a perfect Halloween-themed recipe pumpkin is the obvious choice. This time of year sees the versatile orange flesh used throughout Rome for a wide array of savoury dishes, pizza toppings and sweet pies and tarts. This recipe uses a creamy pumpkin purée, infused with a slight hint of sage, with spicy kick of gorgonzola to create a hearty risotto, ideal for the colder autumn nights.
Although here used with rice, the pumpkin purée could also be used as the base of pumpkin soup (just add vegetable stock) or combined with crunchy guanciale or pancetta for a great pasta dish.
For 4 people:
10 fresh sage leaves
700g pumpkin
Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
60g butter
6 small (espresso) cups of Arborio rice
100ml white wine
1 litre vegetable stock
100g gorgonzola piccante, cut into cubes

First tie the sage leaves together with kitchen string. Remove any rind from the pumpkin and cut the flesh into 2cm cubes.
Heat about 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the the chopped onion, pumpkin and sage. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium heat until the pumpkin is soft and falling apart (about 25-30 minutes). Then remove the bunch of sage leaves and blend the pumpkin into a smooth, creamy purée.
In a separate saucepan, melt the butter with a tablespoon of olive oil and add the rice. Season with salt and toast for 3-4 minutes.
Add the white wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
Pour in enough pumpkin to cover the rice, add ladle of vegetable stock and continue to cook on a medium heat, stirring continuously.
When the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid add the rest of the pumpkin and continue cook, stirring all the time and adding more stock when necessary, until the rice is al dente, about 15-20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the gorgonzola, stirring well to melt it into the sauce.
Serve immediately.

Kate Zagorski has lived in Italy since 2000. Married to a food-obsessed Roman chef, she leads food tours and also works as a freelance food and travel writer.