The wind is just starting to calm down. Earlier it was howling around the outside of the house and the wind has a bitter chill to it. The weather is a little confusing somewhat at the moment as Spring is trying its best to break through. There’s even blossom on the trees already. Unless we are just left with bare branches from this storm!
Days like today need a bowl of comfort food for dinner and back in October last year I created this recipe that is perfect for today. I actually came up with it for my regular slot on BBC Radio Leicester for using up leftover Pumpkins but you could easily substitute it for Butternut squash. You will be able to knock this recipe up within 15 minutes. So stay warm and cozy away from Storm Gareth and I can guarantee you will be back for seconds.
- 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil or oil of your choice
- 150g orzo pasta
- 1/4 medium sized pumpkin chopped into 1inch sized pieces
- 1 large red onion or 2 small red onions diced
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 slices of smoked bacon sliced
- A good sprig of fresh sage finely chopped
- 1/4 chicken gel stock pot
- 100 ml water roughly
- Handful of rocket chopped
- 50 g feta cheese crumbled
- handful of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 200 c fan. Place the pumpkin into a baking tray and drizzle with rapeseed oil. Cook for roughly 15 minutes or until starting to soften and sorting to brown around then edges.
- In a saucepan in water cook the Orzo to cooking instructions ( normally 10-15 mins)
- Then in a frying pan fry off in rapeseed oil the onion for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute or two.
- Add in your bacon and fry off until cooked and browned around the edges.
- By this time the pumpkin will be done so add to the frying pan the pumpkin and stir. Cook for a further minute. Add in your orzo pasta.
- Then add in your sage, chicken stock and water, stir and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add in your feta, stir and then add in your rocket and parsley and you are ready to serve.
An Autumnal risotto that is a lovely alternative recipe for when you want to do something a little more sophisticated but yet its still a great frugal “fridge raid” recipe.
Risottos are a great way of using up what veg you need to. Plus with this dish you are using up any Pumpkin you may still have lying around as many just get thrown away or not bought at all throughout their season. Many just used for decoration.
You can even get the children involved in helping squeezing out all the orange coloured flesh.
Use the Seeds by roasting them in the oven as a tasty snack and if you have any Risotto leftover, make Arancini the next day.
Leeks and Kale are also in season at this time of year so if you like to cook along with them like me, this is the perfect dish for you.
I did this recipe first for BBC Radio Leicester on my regular cooking slot for Ben Jackson’s show. However this time, Ed Stagg was filling in for him. You can hear me showing Ed here how to make it.
It was so popular, I decided to then do it for my weekly column.
Pumpkin risotto with pearl barley, leeks and bacon topped with crispy kale:
1-2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
2-3 handfuls of Carnaroli risotto rice
a good splash of dry white wine
a handful of pearl barley cooked in a little chicken stock
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 medium sized onion diced finely
1/4 leek sliced
1/4 small farmed pumpkin peeled and diced. Plus use some of the flesh inside to squeeze out the orange juice. ( I bought mine from a local Farm called Cattow’s Farm)
800ml homemade chicken stock or 1 gel pot chicken stock to 800ml water, can use veg stock if keeping vegetarian
2 rashers of smoked bacon sliced
Few gratings of parmesan cheese ( parmigiano reggiano )
handful of unsalted butter cold and diced
cracked black pepper to season
A few handfuls of Curly kale
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
sprinkle of sea salt to season and sugar
* Cook off pearl barley to packet instructions.
* Sweat off chopped onion in a pan and cook until starting to go translucent
* Add garlic, stir and then pop in your rice. Stir but not too much.Then de glaze your pan with wine.Cook until starting to reduce.
* Add in hot Chicken stock then ladle by ladle for about 10 minutes, not allowing to stick, but not string too much as this will make the rice glutinous
* pop in your Kale in the oven on 200c or 190 fan for 5 minutes.
* Add in your chopped pumpkin to the risotto and cook for further 5 minutes, then add your leek and cook for a further 3 minutes.
* Fry off your bacon in a separate pan till it goes crispy on the edges
* Then add in your cooked pearl barley and stir only a little. Here you can squeeze the inside bright coloured flesh into the risotto to make an orange colour
* Add your butter to the risotto, plus a little parmesan and cracked black pepper, turn the heat off and cover with a lid.
* Serve in large bowls, top with the bacon, then kale and a snow of parmesan.