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The fact that this recipe calls for cream may have risotto purists up in arms. You know what? Soul food needs to be creamy, that's what! Especially if pumpkin is in the equation!

Pumpkin & Chili Risotto
Soul food this!


  • 45 ml butter
  • 400 g pumpkin or butternut chunks
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 250 ml spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 3 red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 500 g Arborio rice (risotto rice)
  • 1,5 litres prepared vegetable or chicken stock, heated
  • 45 ml fresh thyme leaves (or 15 ml dried)
  • 125 - 200 ml fat-reduced cream
  • 125 - 180 ml grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly-milled black pepper

Chef's hint: If the cream in the recipe really worries your purist sense, then change the rice! Use ordinary long grain rice instead of arborio rice and then pass the recipe off as creamy pilau or something. And remember, a true risotto is soupy but you may like a drier risotto. You be the judge and add as much (or as little) cream as you want and of course, the same goes for the cheese! Isn't cooking just SO deliciously subjective..?!


Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the pumpkin. Stir-fry until just cooked and lightly browned. Chop finely and set aside.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, chilies and rice and toss until the rice is glossy. (If you're using dried thyme, add it now). Start adding the stock one large ladle at a time while stirring in between each addition of stock until the rice becomes plump and creamy. Do not add more stock until the previous addition has nearly been completely absorbed by the rice.

When the rice is just-cooked and creamy but still has a little bite to the centre of the kernels, add the fresh thyme and pumpkin, together with as much or as little cream and parmesan as you like. Stir (lightly, if you want to still see rice kernels) then taste and, if necessary, add salt and black pepper, remove from heat and serve.

Serves 6