Fall, my favorite season of all! My heart skips a beat when I realize that this may be my last experience of this gorgeous season. Next year we are headed back to our home country where the only season that exists is "sweat"! Literally. Although the thought that we will be close to family and childhood friends ignites a whole different spark within us, I just cannot grab enough of fall to take back with us!
Seven years back when I first moved to the United States, fall or autumn, just meant the approaching winter. It took me a few years to stop, look around and appreciate what impact a change of season can create on a human mind and its functioning. It was after this realization that I started waiting for fall to arrive! The cool breeze in the air, leaves changing their colors from green to yellow, orange, red and more, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes at coffee shops, the halloween decor, pumpkin carvings and freshly baked pumpkin breads and pies.......hummmm......sounds like we will have to cross the ocean every year just to catch some of this excitement!
I am trying to capture and perfect some lip smacking comfort foods to take back home with us! That way fall would only be a kitchen away. We can then close our eyes, sit back and virtually imagine "Fall" while finishing our bowl of this yummy pumpkin and vegetable risotto!
Pumpkin & Vegetable Risotto
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
4 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
2 TBS sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 TBS pitted black olives, sliced
1/2 cup broccoli
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 TBS parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 cups water, plus more if needed
Salt & Pepper
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Remove broccoli and reserve the water.
Melt 1 TBS butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add the rice and saute for a minute until the rice is completely coated with the butter. Add the garlic and scallions and saute for 2 minutes.
Now add 2 cups of reserved water, increase the heat to medium and stir frequently. Cook until al dente.
Add the pumpkin puree, sun dried tomatoes, olives and mix well. Gradually add the rest of the water, a little at a time and stir frequently.
Finish by adding the cheese & broccoli.
Serve hot with more parmesan cheese if needed.
Note: For a bolder pumpkin taste, add up to 1 cup pumpkin puree and/or omit the cheese & broccoli.