Friday, October 20, 2006


Pumpkin Risotto with red onion, rosemary & white truffle butter. Photo by Equalizer.

Autumn, a season in which most people associate it with blue. the end of the summer and the end of good times. In fact, such blues are mostly common in areas of the world where sunshine days begins to dwindle down to grayish gloomy days. Scientifically, good mood is accentuated with sunshine, so it is logical to assume that the reduction of such sunshine can only lead to withdrawal.

I rarely got to experience Autumn or Fall as they call it in North America, because I live in a warm sunny country like Kuwait. Autumn is a metamorphosis between summer and winter, and could only be experienced over a prolonged period of time. In colder climates of the deep north and south, you would witness the changing colors of a variety of trees to deep and light tones of orange, red, yellow and brown. Then the leaves begin to fall, leaving it bare and cold. In warm countries you can only feel the weather cooling down, but cannot witness it as nothing else changes.

I felt like reliving those days when I witnessed the whole autumn season with all its changes and festivities like Halloween. Halloween is an ancient pagan harvest festival mostly associated with pumpkins. I though of having a simple hearty autumn dish with pumpkins. Pumpkin Risotto.

Unlike other rice dishes, risottos are pretty tricky. The key to a perfect risotto is to prefry the rice with butter and oil prior to cooking. This will allow the rice to holds its shape while cooking in the broth. Another key is to add the broth ladle by ladle as you need to constantly stir while it absorbs the water. What happens is that while stirring with just enough water, there would be increased friction that forces the rice to release starch that would in turn make the risotto creamy.

Pumpkin Risotto

2 cups arborio rice (never use any other variety like basmati)
1 cup finely chopped pumpkins
1/2 chopped red onion
1 sprig rosemary
3 cups chicken broth (extra if needed)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs white truffle butter
1 tsp truffle oil
Fresh cracked black pepper


Heat butter on medium high heat. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add pumpkin and rice and fry until rice is semi translucent. Add chicken broth and constantly stir. Keep adding and stirring. Add more broth once the broth is absorbed by the rice. Keep adding broth in a timely fashion until the risotto is nice and creamy, preferably "al dente" which means its hard from the inside. Once you reach the consistency you want add the Parmesan, salt to taste, black pepper, truffle butter and oil. Mix well and serve immediately to ensure that the risotto remains creamy.


Blogger Intlxpatr said...

What a fabulous recipe! White truffel butter? Truffel oil? I better find them here (US) and bring them back with me! Gorgeous rich recipe, and gorgeous photo, too. Wow.

10/20/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Erzulie said...

Pumpkin? Really? I had pumpkin soup and I didn't like the sweetness...This is the only recipe you posted that I would be troubled with taste bud-wise...

10/21/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Autumn, is my favourite time of the year... there is a difference.. watch the way the sun gives a sense of warmth to the buildings, the way the sand looks..and the trees, they get their shine back, the cooler weather creates a new atmosphere where suddeny everyone is enjoying the outdoors, walking, cuddling at night on the beach and sticking ones bare feet into the cold smooth sand..
your dish is wonderful, truffle oil i have, truffle butter i will have in a a few weeks time, there is someone who is bringing fresh ingredients from italy like, buffallo mozzarella in all shapes and sizes, oils, spices, sundried tomatoes,dried porcini mushrooms, fresh pasta, parmesan, aubergines in jars of oil, and much more, ill post the contact information when its available to me.

10/21/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful recipe!

10/22/2006 02:28:00 AM  
Blogger B. said...

I've attempted to make a risotto dish several times. I gave up after the 4th attempt.

It always turns out looking like prison food :(

10/22/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Fuzzy said...

عيدكم مبارك وعساكم من عواده

10/22/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Shurouq said...

Starved. Drooling. And it's too late to eat anything.

Will vegetable broth do?

10/23/2006 02:06:00 AM  
Blogger Shurouq said...

وعيدك مبارك :)

10/23/2006 02:07:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Hi Everyone, just to let you know that I am currently in Madrid, so I might be slow. Its raining and not much chance for me to take photos in this weather. I will do some research on castillian cuisine though.

Intlxpatr: The brands I used were american. Imported from france.

erzulie: well what If I said pumpkin cheesecake?

eat cake: Agreed :) and make sure you let me know when this store opoens!!

Jewaira: I hope you will enjoy it :)

b: #1 always toast the arborio rice in butter or oil very well #2 constantly stir #3 add broth little by little. I hope this will help you.

Fuzzy: Ayamik sa3eeda oo 3asak min il3aydeen lfayzeen.

Shorouq: Vegetable broth with bouquet garni (dried bunch of herbs)will do, and by now you should be managing your hunger :p oo ayamich sa3eedaa :)

10/24/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kleio said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/25/2006 03:29:00 AM  
Blogger Kleio said...

I love autumn too...that first day when you have to dig out your favourite cardigan and get to start wearing your boots again. But you're right, autumn is one of those seasons that is best experienced outside of Kuwait - and the northeast U.S. was an ideal place for me to get the most out of it when I was an undergrad! But London is a pretty good place now too, except for all the rain. Whenever autumn rolls around, I always think that it's my favourite time of the year - all the oranges and yellows and light browns. But then, inevitably, spring descends as well, with all its greens and pinks and reds, and I love that just as much...when you can finally put all your jackets away and reluctantly shove your favourite cardigan into your bag for that slightly chilly evening breeze.

"Drops of Truffles" - talk about heaven in a bottle. But I have to agree with Erzulie: I'm not at all a cooked-pumpkin fan. But your recipe still sounds great. Also, like "anonymous" above, I too have someone getting me my favourite special ingredients fresh from Rome this week. I can't seem to find the same pleasures here in London - without paying an arm and a leg, that is!

Hope you're having fun in Madrid.

10/25/2006 03:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

عيدك مبارك


10/25/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Anonymous SOS said...

hey man! found this site the other day
i think u'll like it

10/25/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tinkerbell said...

i luv ur recipes! but where can i get white truffel butter in q8? :(

10/26/2006 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger chiktute said...

can i be your friend? and have you cook for meeeeeeeeee (a) pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzz

10/26/2006 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

kleio: Autumn or Fall as they call it in the Northeast really has a wonderful feel! It is very different, given the variety of trees there are very unique. The more north you go, the better scenery, until you reach Maine. I never enjoyed Autumn in London, its too wet and windy.
As for the pumpkin, try not to imagine the flavor in its singularity, but rather the chemical and textural fusion that occurs after cooking, a bit of art and science. Try to get some fresh Buffalo mozarella from rome ;)

3abeer: Ayamich sa3eeda :)

SOS: Nice blog with lots of berries and beautiful photography.

Tinks: You can get it at Sultan Center :)

Chiktute: That wouldn't be fair to others right? ;)

10/26/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Rimyoleta said...

here in Jeddah (it's always hot and sunny).
always fe al 7aj it's rainy and couldy :)
and I hate pumpkin:s

10/27/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Alia said...

3eedik mbarak
that Pumpkin risotto looks yummi
I just like risottos

"the end of summer and the end of good times" I totally agree

"Scientifically, good mood is accentuated with sunshine, so it is logical to assume that the reduction of such sunshine can only lead to withdrawal".
aha ..that's why I hate winter

10/28/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cuteberry said...

Why don't you randomly choose a blogger to taste a sample of your "yummy in da tummy" cook?

I will gladly volunteer!

pick me me me me :P

10/28/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Zaydoun said...

I'm so going to try this mouthwatering recipe. Who sells truffle oil in Kuwait?

10/28/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Intlxpatr said...

OK OK, I found the white truffel oil, and now I need to know - do you store it in the cupboard or in the refrigerator? It was on a shelf, but the climate is a lot cooler than here . . .

When you say "at the Sultan Center" for white truffel butter, do you always mean the one in Salmiyya? I can assure you, it is not in most of the others! And is it almost always in the SC in Salmiyya?

10/31/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

Rimyoleta: No you don't hate pumpkins, you just had a bad recipe ;)

Alia: Ayamich sa3eeda, no sunshine?
Where are you?

Cuteberry: Well I wouldn't want to reveal my identity :p I guess blogger intrigue adds more depth to the content ;)

Zaydoun: Sultan center or Azzad at Shamiah Co-op. A few droplets will do the magic.

intlxpatr: truffle oil could be stored in the cupboard as long as its cool. As for Sultan Center, they seem to be inconsistent in their inventory management, Sharq branch is getting a bit better though.

11/01/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Intlxpatr said...

Thnx! You back here, or still in Spain?

11/01/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Stinni said...

Hola! Espero que todo esta bien y estes divertiendote alla en Madrid!

FYI, when I couldn't get my hands on risotto, I would use Calrose rice. I made Arancini during Ramadan using Calrose instead of risotto and they turned out great. :)

Sultan Center in Al Kout has a gourmet aisle full of wonderful things - flavored oils, different types of pestos, you name it. It's a long drive for some, but worth it.

-Stinni, who gets incredibly nostalgic and misses the New England fall season every year at this time...

11/02/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

intlxpatr & Stinni: I am back :)

Calrose mmmmm not for rissoto because it will not have the same starch content and texture of arborio. Sultan and Azzad both have it in case you are wondering. As for Sultan Kout Mall, it has nothing and then it has this all of a sudden! why?

11/02/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Intlxpatr said...

So many xpats shop in Al Kout!

But not when they really really need something. So now I have white truffel oil and white truffels, but white truffel butter is no where to be found. I have aroborio rice, and fresh pumpkin . . . can I make the pumpkin risotto without the white truffel butter? Or can I make butter with the items I have?

12/01/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

intlxpatr: You can easily make the butter with the truffle you have, just melt the butter, mix in grated truffles and refrigerate in the shape you like. You can bring it back to room temperature, place on a cellophane and roll and place in the freezer. You can then cut off disks for use in many dishes.
Sultan Sharq still has it.

12/01/2006 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Intlxpatr said...

Thank you! Just as soon make it myself, since I have the truffels. . . might as well make use of them. Many thanks.

12/05/2006 04:50:00 PM  

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