Voluptuous Veggie Risotto

Adapted from one of my favourite feasts during university, this is a delightful dish that warms your soul as well as your body; truly comfort food at its finest.  It lends itself well to any time of year but can be particularly good as we’re heading towards the colder Welsh weather right now!  Best served if you’re cooking for many, the more really is the merrier with this dish – you can just keep on adding more to suit your party.  Add some prawns or chicken in if you really can’t live without, but I personally think half the beauty of this risotto is the absolute mountain of veggies!

Ingredients*:file_000-22

  • ¼ medium size pumpkin/~300g, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ~100g babycorn
  • Halloumi ~225g (low fat if possible)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 1 or 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 150g asparagus
  • ~50g broccoli

The type and amount of veg you put in this recipe is completely up to you, this is just an example I made this week.  Butternut squash is also a great alternative to pumpkin and often easier to get hold of in supermarkets.

Method:

  1. Cut the pumpkin into chunks and place on a roasting tray with a little oil spray into the oven at 1800 for around 20 mins – *optional: sprinkle with some herbs and feta*
  2. Fry the onions until golden, then adding the peppers
  3. Let those brown a bit more, then add the Arborio rice and boil a full kettle – reduce the heat to low/medium
  4. Add 1 stock cube to a large jug of boiling water and mix together with a fork – you can keep topping this up throughout, it’s important not to underestimate the amount of stock needed!
  5. At this point, you can put the other veg on to steam for a few minutes or just add them in as and when, it’s up to you (I prefer to pre-steam to get the texture right)
  6. Pour in some of the stock and keep stirring in until absorbed, simmering on a medium to low heat; continue to add more and more letting it absorb each time until rice gets to a nice fluffy texture
  7. When done, add in the roasted pumpkin chunks and stir in the halloumi chunks
  8. Keep stirring and simmering for a further 10 mins or so, enough for the halloumi to melt a little – sprinkle with some extra seasoning if you like
  9. Once all the stock is absorbed, the rice is nice & fluffy and the halloumi has gone a little gooey: you’re good to go!

And there you have it!  Easy, tasty and (fairly) healthy comfort food.  It’s open to experimentation and your own tastes on what kind of things you add in or take out, but that’s the beauty.

If you’re going to save the extra portions rather than cook it for company then just be careful to cool it as quickly as possible as rice can form harmful bacteria at room temperature, whilst also being mindful that placing hot or warm things in the fridge can lower its temperature and cause other things to go off.  Also, be careful when reheating rice making sure to absolutely zap it in the microwave just to be on the safe side – check that it’s steaming hot all the way through and don’t leave for more than a day if possible.

Hope you enjoy; if you make your own creations do let me know by tagging @charlieschapter Instagram or twitter!

Diolch i chi a hwyl am nawr,

Charles xx

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