Pumpkin & Saffron Risotto
Updated: May 11
Warm up your meals with colours of autumn and seasonal flavours.
Here is my little improvised risotto recipe that I find excellent when pumpkins are in season. Pumpkin and saffron risotto is not something I have invented but since growing my own saffron, the idea came to my mind with the fact they are harvested at the same period. It will take many years and more bulbs before I get a good crop of saffron but it is worth trying when your climate allows it! The saffron spice threads are crimson stigmas from the crocus sativus, a gorgeous purple flower that blooms in mid-Autumn. Each flower produces 3 stigmas so you need lots of flowers to fill up that little container and that explains why it is an expensive product. Saffron’s taste is subtle and complex; earthy, grassy, sweet and floral. It can be found in most food shops (just make sure to buy the real one and not the cheap imitation). This little jar in the picture was offered to us by our Iranian friends. It has certainly inspired me to explore more saffron recipes!
Pumpkins, saffron, wine and risotto • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021
Risotto is an Italian dish of creamy rice, cooked in broth and wine very slowly by adding a little bit of liquid at a time. I love this one with a crisp and fruity Pinot Gris or Grigio, a white wine variety (made slightly differently in France and Italy where they originate) that is cultivated in the cool climate wine region where we live (Tumbarumba). In Australia, the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio is stylistic, and both are exceptional to this climate. You can serve risotto on the side of a dish, topped with something or just by itself. If you’ve got some extra sugar pumpkin (or any small rounded winter squash), empty and roast them to fill up with the cooked risotto. It will add extra pumpkin flesh and makes a stunning autumn presentation inspired by the native American pumpkin bowls. Enjoy the saffron floral perfume while cooking and savour the taste of autumn with a glass of this wine!
Autumn colours and flower savours • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021
LOCAL PRODUCE FEATURE: This risotto dish features the French-style Pinot Gris of Mount Tumbarumba Vineyards, a beautiful little vineyard owned by a friendly family who commissioned us to do a 4 seasons photography project. They have a beautiful collection of wine varieties, available locally and online.
This recipe is published in ABC Organic Gardener Magazine issue #141 Autumn 2023.
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