Friday, 3 April 2015

Pumpkin risotto with Amaretto biscuits and Parmesan cheese cream, and balsamic vinegar reduction

10 minutes to prepare Serves 4



Sour, sweet and bitter...

Amaretto is a sweet biscuit, spread all over the Italian country.
Its pastry consists of an almond paste, made of sugar, egg white, sweet and bitter almonds and apricot kernels. Amaretto was probably invented by the Arabs and, from Sicily, it took root in the culinary tradition of Normans, Spanish, and French. Pilgrims and convents facilitated its spread, thanks to the fact that this sweet is dry and not easily perishable.
There are mainly two versions of Amaretto biscuits: the Saronno type, crisp and crumbly, and the Sassello type, soft and more similar to marzipan.  
Amaretto biscuits are featured as ingredient in many recipes, usually sweet ones. However, there are some exceptions: in Lombardy, for instance, they are employed to prepare special fillings, like in pumpkin ravioli, or they are crushed and used as replacement of grated cheese in some vegetable soups.

Today we will take inspiration from these two ideas to prepare a pumpkin risotto with balsamic vinegar reduction and a Parmesan cheese cream. Here, the umami sensation given by Parmesan cheese will be balanced by the crunchy sweetness of Amaretto. This recipe is a lighter version of chef Caffarri's one.
I simply fell in love with it, I hope you will do, too.

Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe:

320 g Carnaroli rice 
500 g pumpkin
1 onion
1 glass Moscato sweet wine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cow milk
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Amaretto biscuits
EVO oil


  1. Peel the pumpkin and cut it into slices. Make them not too thin so that the pumpkin flesh will result soft and not too dry. Place pumpkin slices on the oven plate with some salt on top. Cook at 200°C for 30 minutes (ventilated oven)
  2. When pumpkin is ready, braise chopped onion with a little oil and salt
  3. Pour the rice into the pan and simmer with Moscato wine until it evaporates
  4. Add a spoonful of boiling salted water and continue as for a normal risotto, for about half of rice's cooking time (please refer to the cooking time indicated on the rice package). At this point, smash the cooked pumpkin with a fork and add it to the rice 
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the cream of Parmesan cheese: let half a cup of grated cheese to melt in a non-stick frying pan. Add milk as needed until you obtain a foamy consistency. Crush Amaretto biscuits with your hands and add them to the cream 1 minute before use
  6. Reduce the balsamic vinegar until it's as thick as you want: pour balsamic in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring it to boil and simmer it for about 2 minutes, watching carefully and lowering the heat if necessary 
  7. When the rice is cooked, stir in the remaining grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt, if needed
  8. Serve on a dinner plate, with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese cream on top and some balsamic vinegar reduction around it  

    In the following, Nutrition Facts of this dish are indicated. Data is provided per serving.

    Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted. Chinese proverb.


    1. Questo lo avevo fatto quest'inverno!
      Super bello e super buono! :)

      1. Davvero? Mi fa tanto piacere!!! :-)
        Grazie del commento