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Roasted pumpkin risotto with haloumi pops and chilli syrup

 In Recipes

Creamy pumpkin risotto with crispy haloumi pops and spicy chilli syrup is a wonderfully warming, comforting and impressive recipe.

Butternut risotto with haloumi

Tis the season to share all the pumpkin recipes. Except, for me this doesn’t make much sense because I live in South Africa and right now the last thing on anyone’s mind is autumnal vegetables and their huge comfort factor. Instead, we are all focused on braai’s, the Rugby World Cup and Summer. But I have to confess, I am just not ready to give them up just yet. As we speak, my fridge is packed full of mushrooms, pumpkin, butternut squash and cauliflower. These are some of my favourite ingredients and even though it sometimes feels strange to cook with these hearty vegetables on warm days, I just can’t help myself.

Butternut risotto with haloumi

Take this risotto for instance. There are few things that scream “COMFORT FOOD” as much as a creamy, dreamy pumpkin risotto but I just couldn’t resist making it a few days ago. Even though we were having a really warm day, the repetitive motion of adding hot stock to a barely simmering pot of arborio rice was just too tempting. Not to mention sitting down to a hug-in-a-bowl. Which is exactly what this risotto is. I flavoured the stock with fresh thyme and rosemary and added a bay leaf and this resulted in the stock taking on a seriously savoury flavour. Don’t you just love herbs?

Butternut risotto with haloumi

To add a little textural interest, I decided to add a few cubes of fried haloumi because first of all cheese makes everything better. But also because I love that they added a milky squeakiness (admittedly not the most charming of descriptions) to the finished risotto. To emphasize the natural sweetness of the roasted pumpkin, I made a syrup which was flavoured with red chilli and a splash of yuzu juice. This Asian citrus has the most refreshing, delicious flavour and I find it works so well paired with anything spicy. I finished the risotto off with a generous grating of aged Parmesan (because again: Cheese) and that was it. Sure, risotto takes a little effort but in essence it is so simple and so absolutely worth the 20-odd minutes you have to stand stirring the pot. Plus, for me that stirring is 20 minutes out of my day that I can just zone out and focus on nothing. Except creating this insanely delicious risotto.

Butternut risotto with haloumi

Roasted pumpkin risotto with haloumi pops and chilli syrup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Risotto, vegetarian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
for the roasted pumpkin
  • 3 cups cubed pumpkin/butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste
for the risotto
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 500g Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock with 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh rosemary and a bay leaf
  • pumpkin puree
  • roasted pumpkin cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • handful Parmesan, grated
for the haloumi pops
  • 150g haloumi cheese, cubed
  • oil, for frying
for the chilli syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons yuzu juice
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and place the pumpkin on a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and place in the oven. Allow to roast for 30-40 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked and is starting to caramelise.
  3. Remove then puree half of the pumpkin. Set aside.
  4. To make the risotto, fry the onion in a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan.
  5. When the onion is soft, add the garlic and fry for another 20 seconds or so then add the rice. Stir to coat the rice in the oil and aromatics then add the wine. Allow the wine to reduce then stir in the stock, ladle by ladle. Allow the rice to absorb the stock before adding more and stir continuously. It is this continuous stirring that creates the creaminess risotto is known for.
  6. While you are making the risotto, combine all the ingredients for the syrup and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. When the risotto has absorbed approximately half of the liquid, start tasting it regularly as a good risotto can quickly be ruined by over cooking. Your risotto might also not need all the stock or it might need more, it all depends on the rice's absorbency.
  8. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and fry the haloumi until golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  9. When the risotto is done to your preference, beat in the butter and Parmesan and season to taste. Stir in the reserved cubes of butternut.
  10. Serve the risotto drizzled with the chilli syrup and topped with a few haloumi pops. Finish with an extra grating of Parmesan cheese.
 

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 11 comments
  • Sabrina
    Reply

    This sounds really delicious and creative!! Definitely planning to purchase your ebook 🙂

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Reply

    This has me wanting to do a serious face plant into that plate. Total dinner perfection right here!

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Face plant away my friend. This is very, very face-plantable. ?

  • laura
    Reply

    What could I use instead of yuzu juice?

  • Jo
    Reply

    Sounds divine! Where do you buy your yuzu juice? Thanks

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      I got mine from a local Asian supermarket.

  • Kristina
    Reply

    It looks delicious. Have to try it, I love the combination of all the flavours. I will deffinitely try this one!

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