Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baked Rice with Pumpkin and Feta

This light and colorful rice dish is a perfect recipe for this pumpkin season. It comes from the Mediterranean cuisine. I found it in one of the Italian magazines which I brought from Italy. The dish is quite similar to risotto and calls for the risotto type of rice, preferably Carnaroli or Arborio. It is started as risotto, but because it is then baked in the oven, it does not require constant stirring. It is made with Feta cheese instead of Parmesan and finished with two garnishes—fried sage leaves and pine nuts. Sage adds extra flavor and aroma to the delicate taste of rice, pine nuts bring in some crunchiness to a smooth texture of the dish, so it is worth adding both to obtain that full and rich taste at the end.

Baked Rice with Pumpkin and Feta

1 cup risotto rice (if available Carnaroli),
1 lb peeled and cut into small cubes pumpkin,
1 medium onion, chopped,
1/2 cup white wine,
2 and 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock,
1/2 cup Feta,
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional),
2 tbsp roasted pine nuts,
3/4 cup milk,
2 tbsp butter,
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
12–16 sage leaves.

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Add pumpkin cubes and fry for about 2–3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 325 F.
3. In the same frying pan heat another 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add onion and fry until transparent. Add rice and toast together for 1–2 minutes. Pour in wine, and let simmer until wine evaporates.
4. Add pumpkin and stock to rice, season with salt and bring to boil.
5. Transfer rice to a large baking dish and bake for 20–25 minutes.
6. In a medium bowl crumble Feta and mix with roasted pine nuts and hot pepper flakes if used.

7. In a small pot bring to boil 2 tbsp butter. Add washed and dried sage leaves and fry for 2 minutes.
8. Remove rice from the oven. Pour in milk and gently mix and bake for another 10–15 minutes.
9. Once again remove rice from oven and spread Feta crumbles on top. Bake for 5 minutes until Feta melts.
10. Remove rice from the oven, finish with melted butter and sage leaves and serve.

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