Risotto is as much about Parmesan as it is about rice. It’s what makes it so creamy and appetising but also what keeps it reserved for special occasions. But what if we told you that you could have an extra creamy risotto, cheese free? Cue: ghee.
You’ve probably heard ghee being touted in the health world. It’s essentially clarified butter, where butter is boiled very slowly to extract the water and milk solids, leaving pure butter oil. This process removes most of the lactose and casein so many dairy-intolerant people can actually tolerate ghee.
Held in high regard in Ayurvedic traditions, ghee is said to be more nutritionally sound than butter. It’s rich in short and medium chain fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health (butter contains 12-15 percent while ghee contains 25 percent or greater), higher in fat-soluble vitamins, and is better for digestion and inflammation. Plus, it has a higher smoke point making it better for cooking.
Health benefits aside, ghee actually tastes creamier than butter. The clarifying process enhances the flavour, which makes it so good in recipes like this pumpkin, miso and leek risotto by Dr. Libby Weaver.
It’s cheese-free and by using ghee, even those sensitive to dairy may be able to stomach it.
Pumpkin Miso And Leek Risotto Recipe
Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 45 mins
1.5 litres good-quality chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want to make this vegetarian)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cups (400 g) arborio rice
3 cups (360 g) grated pumpkin
2 teaspoons shiro miso or genmai miso
2 tablespoons ghee
3 tablespoons picked flat-leaf parsley, dill and oregano
Tamari seed sprinkle
1⁄2 cup (75 g) mixed seeds (such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds)
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons tamari
Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and keep it at a low simmer.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat, add the leek and cook for 10 minutes or until soft and golden.
Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes or until it is coated with the oil. Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the pumpkin starts to soften.
Add 1 cup (250 ml) of the simmering stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until all of the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, allowing each cup to be fully absorbed before adding the next. Once all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is soft and creamy, stir in the miso and ghee. Remove from the heat and cover while you prepare the seeds.
To make the tamari seed sprinkle, place the seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and cook until they start to colour. Add the ginger and tamari, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 3–5 minutes until the tamari has been absorbed by the seeds.
Ladle the risotto into shallow bowls and top with the tamari seeds and herbs.
+ Tips and Tricks … grate the pumpkin & make tamari seed sprinkle ahead of time to reduce the preparation. + Note from Dr. Libby … “Sometimes supporting better energy means embracing versatile meals that can be adapted and used again. This risotto is a fantastic example. Leftovers can be taken for lunch the next day or you can turn them into arancini. Simply shape the cooled risotto into balls, coat them with seeds and brush with oil, then bake in the oven until golden.”
Images and recipes from The Energy Guide by Dr Libby Weaver, published by Macmillan.