Creamy Leek and Pumpkin Harvest Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage Leaves


Well, you gotta love a New Zealand spring - snow, rain, wind, flights being cancelled due to wild weather and all the while our neighbours across the ditch have been experiencing an early heat wave...umm, how does that even work?! (land mass - huge versus little, skinny, mountainous islands etc etc...we'll leave it there). What it does mean is that it is not so much the weather for a little light summery something here, it is more suited to a sightly heartier, warming nurturing dish like this risotto - sweet onions, leeks and pumpkin with salty prosciutto and creamy sharp Parmesan topped with crispy fried sage leaves - the perfect weekend dinner! (Just so happens to be pretty good for a northern hemisphere autumn too - succcess!)

2 tbsp olive oil
100g pancetta, roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped to a medium dice
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and cut into 1/2 cm slices
1 celery stick, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

650g chopped pumpkin and sweet potato or kumara - (more of the one you like best!) chopped into 3cm chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch fresh sage

100g proscuitto

extra 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to serve

Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F) and line a roasting dish with baking paper. Heat olive oil in a large heavy based pot and fry pancetta for 4-5 minutes until coloured and just crispy. Scoop out pancetta leaving oil in the pot, and drain on baking paper. 

Add onion, leeks, celery and garlic to pot, season well with salt and pepper and cook over a medium/gentle heat for about 25 minutes until soft but not coloured (you may need to add a splash more olive oil). Turn off the heat for a minute while you pop the chopped pumpkin and kumara onto the baking paper in the roasting dish. Drizzle with oil and honey and season well with sea salt and ground black pepper then bake for 30 minutes until soft and vibrantly orange. 

While they are in the oven turn the heat back up to medium for your onion and leek mixture and add rice, then cook for 3-4 minutes until you feel the rice drying out as you stir it in the pot. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. While the wine is cooking out, heat the stock either in the microwave, or on a medium/low heat in a pot on the stove top. After a couple of minutes, when the wine is absorbed,  start adding the stock about half a cup at a time to the rice. Stir it every few minutes, topping up the stock, half a cup at a time, as it is absorbed. The whole process will take about 25-30 minutes at which point you will have used most of the stock and the rice should be just soft - the constant stirring will have encouraged the release of starch and consequently provided a luscious creamy texture. 

OK - brace yourself, a few things will be happening at once, but just breathe and carry on. Around now your pumpkin will be ready to take out of the oven - go ahead and set it to one side. Cover it with tinfoil and change the oven setting to grill. Lay out the prosciutto on a  baking tray and grill for a minute each side or until golden and crispy. As your risotto is ready, return the pancetta to the pot with the grated parmesan and butter, and stir to combine. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the sage leaves for around 15-20 seconds until just crisp, and drain on baking paper. If your risotto is ready, just cover and leave to sit for a minute - it is all fine, if it is drying out at all, just boil the kettle and add 1/4 cup hot water and mix through!

Time to plate up - first the risotto, next top it with pumpkin and kumara, then a sprinkling of parmesan, a few shards of crispy proscuitto and 5 or 6 sage leaves. Season well with black pepper to serve. Serves 4.

(These are the things you can do ahead to avoid any last minute stress - roast pumpkin and kumara as early as the day before and just heat through in the oven 5 minutes before serving. Prosciutto can be grilled before you start cooking the risotto. Sage leaves can be cooked while risotto is cooking. Ta dah!


  1. Un grand plaisir de parcourir ce joli blog de recettes et aussi de le partager!
    Ces photos sont magnifiques et donnent envie de se mettre à table.
    Je vais tout de suite le mettre dans mes préférences, et j'attends avec impatience vos idées culinaires.