Dooking for apples, treacle scones, guising and turnip lanterns. This was pretty much what defined my 1980s childhood Halloween in the west of Scotland. However as more and more we are exposed to the influx of culture from across the Atlantic, trick or treating and pumpkins have sadly become the norm. Pumpkins were purely the domain of Cinderella in those days but now every shop is piled high with the massive orange vegetables weighing in at 10kg or more, with more and more artistic designs available to the budding artist on this relatively soft and yielding skin. Certainly in comparison to the permanent scarring that was inevitable trying to create a skeleton out of a neep with a penknife!
However when you consider that Zero Waste Scotland’s figures show two thirds of carved pumpkins are simply discarded it shows you the extent of the waste problem which is now as omnipotent as peanuts and tangerines once were on All Saints Day. So this year they’ve come up with the #pumpkinrescue campaign to get us eating the tonnes of leftover pumpkins once the lanterns have been extinguished and children’s minds wander to bonfire night and Christmas. You can find any recipes on their website and here I am sharing one of my favourites. Risotto. This is a great dish as you can get the kids involved with the stirring and show them that their precious lantern is actually food and not simply waste.
Roast Pumpkin, Sage and Prosecco Risotto
200g leftover pumpkin cut into 1cm dice
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
6-8 sage leaves finely chopped
150g risotto rice – preferably nano vialone
Small glass leftover prosecco (or dry white wine) – if such a thing exists
400ml chicken stock (or vegetable if you want to keep vegetarian)
Parmesan or Pecorino to garnish
Knob butter and splash Olive Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to season
- Set the oven to 200C and roast the pumpkin in a little oil for 15-20 minutes until it starts to brown slightly.
- In a heavy based sauté pan sweat the onion, sage, and garlic in the oil and butter until softened, do not brown;
- Add the rice and stir to cover with the oil, cook over a low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring often and being careful not to burn;
- Turn the heat to medium and add the prosecco, stirring rapidly until it all evaporates;
- Add the stock ladle by ladle, stirring until each is evaporated before adding the next;
- Continue adding the stock one ladle at a time for 12 minutes until al dente;
- Add in the pumpkin and stir through;
- Remove from the heat and add in a good grinding of parmesan or pecorino. Stir, correct for seasoning and serve.