Crispy sage combines beautifully with the sweetness of pumpkin or squash and its texture is a welcome contradiction to the creamy rice. This is a simple but beautiful autumn dish.
Adapted from The River Cottage cookbook by Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall.
Heat the stock until almost boiling and then keep over a very low heat. In a heavy-based saucepan, fry the onion slowly until soft but not browned. Add the chopped sage and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir well for a few seconds to coat the grains with the oil, then pour in about a third of the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until almost all the stock has been absorbed, stirring regularly but not all the time. Add the pumpkin and a little more stock and continue to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock a little at a time until the pumpkin is soft and the rice nicely al dente.
The texture of the risotto should be loose and creamy. When it is almost ready, heat the sunflower oil in a small pan until very hot, and quickly fry the sage leaves until crisp- it’s a matter of seconds. Stir the butter into the risotto together with the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Divide between serving bowls and place a few crispy sage leaves over each portion. Optionally you can sprinkle with some more Parmesan on top.
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