Place your stock, or water plus stockpots on high heat. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat down and leave it to simmer happily.
While waiting for the stock, skin, core and chop the pumpkin up, leaving about 300g for the topping (instructions below). See instructions in the post above on how to cut a pumpkin.
Heat the olive oil on low heat and sauté the onions for 3 minutes, stirring.
Add the chopped pumpkins, stir, and leave to cook for 10 minutes, adding a small amount of stock when necessary, to stop it burning.
After 10 minutes, add the rice, and coat with all that fat, stirring well. Toast the rice for 1 minute.
Increase the heat to medium and pour in the wine, stir, and leave to evaporate, stirring a little. Skip this step, if you don’t do alcohol.
Add 1 cup of the simmering stock and stir gently. You can take a break, it doesn’t need to be round and round constantly, just regular stirring while the stock evaporates.
When the stock has evaporated, add half a cup more of the stock, stir, and repeat this process for 13 minutes. Yes, watch the clock or put your kitchen timer on. Don't want to do all that stirring? Go over to the Basic Risotto post for suggestions.
Check the rice at the 13-minute mark. It should be just about done, depending on your rice, and the heat. Is it cooked – soft on the outside with just a bite in the middle? Is the risotto looking creamy, like a thick version of rice pudding? If it is, it’s done. If it’s not, add 1/4 cup stock, and stir. When that stock has been absorbed, check again. You shouldn’t really need to cook more than 15-17 minutes. At this point, the pumpkin will be cooked and would have been absorbed a little into the risotto, colouring it. However, you should have cubes of pumpkin.
Then check the seasoning – does it need salt? Add some if you think it does, and stir it in.
Take off the heat. Stir in the butter and the parmesan and stir it all in thoroughly and vigorously for a whole 30 seconds. This process is called mantecatura, read more on the Basic Risotto post.
Cover and leave it to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
The Chilli Pumpkin Topping
About halfway through cooking the risotto, get a medium-large frying pan, and heat the butter up on medium heat.
Before the butter browns, drop the pumpkin slices in, spreading the out. The odd overlapping is fine, but we do want them touching the pan as much as possible. Gently stir the pumpkin slices or flip the pan to cook them on both sides. The slices will soften, and be prone to breaking up, so be careful, but don't worry too much about it.
Cook for a total of 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices. You'll know when they are fully cooked as the pumpkin takes on a darker "wet look". And your spatula will easily pierce through. Sprinkle the chilli flakes all over. Flip or stir the slices and cook for a minute. I like a little brown, charred edges, so I increase the heat at this stage, but that's up to you.Don't forget your risotto while you're doing the pumpkin topping.
Take off the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Keep warm until serving time.
Prep time is longer than usual as it assumes you are starting with a whole pumpkin. If you are using ready to use pumpkin cubes, you only need about 10 minutes of prep time.