Stuffed butternut pumpkin with risotto
1 large butternut pumpkin, about 1.5kg
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
150g Arborio rice
75ml white wine optional
600ml hot chicken stock
75g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Juice of ½ a lemon
Good pinch of salt and pepper
50g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
35g kale leaves, tough centre stalks removed
30g walnuts, roughly chopped
35g dried cranberries
Fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and rosemary to decorate
Preheat the oven to CircoTherm® 170°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Slice the butternut pumpkin in half, lengthways and discard the seeds. Place the butternut pumpkin halves, cut side down, in the baking tray and roast for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, start on the risotto. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan, over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the onion softens. Add in the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute. Add in the rice and stir until the oil has coated the rice. Add in the wine and stir. Wait for the wine to almost fully absorb (stirring regularly) and then add the stock a ladle at a time – ensuring each ladle has almost fully absorbed before adding the next. Continue to stir regularly.
After about 20 minutes, you should have used all of the stock, and the rice should have softened, but still have a slight bite to it. If the rice is still too hard, you can add in a ladle or so of hot water from the kettle and cook for a minute or two longer. Once the risotto is cooked, turn the heat down to very low.
Add in the cheddar and stir to melt, then add in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and chestnuts. Give everything a good stir and cook for a further minute or two. Turn off the heat.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and carefully (use a tea towel to protect your hands) scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1-2 cm border all the way around. Stir the pumpkin into the risotto.
Line the insides of the pumpkin halves with two-thirds of the kale leaves and spoon the risotto into the two halves. Top one of the halves with the cranberries and walnuts, and the other half with the remaining kale.
Put the two halves of the pumpkin carefully back together again, and secure into place using kitchen twine. Do not pull the twine too tight, or it will cut through the pumpkin.
Place back on the baking tray and cook on CircoTherm 170°C with low added steam (if available) for a further 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
Serve decorated with fresh herbs, and more cranberries and walnuts if you like.