Pumpkin and Asparagus Risotto

The moment the weather allows me to wear track pants comfortably, I immediately become excited for the cooler months ahead. Recently, it’s been raining of an afternoon and the mornings are just that little bit chilly…perfect for oatmeal, tea, soups and risottos – or anything warm, delicious and heartwarming. Today was spent anxiously awaiting the fate of my faithful car (Goldie the Sock) and listening to dreary lectures at university. The moment I staggered back into my house at 5.30pm, it began to drizzle and I began to salivate to the thought of carbs.

Risotto is one of my favourite meals, because it’s dead easy to put together. Little bit of veg, little bit of rice, little bit of stock…and you’re pretty much done and dusted; ready to eat. Tonight I prepared a pumpkin and asparagus risotto for my housemate and I, which went down nicely while I studied for yet another exam tomorrow.

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Pumpkin and Asparagus Risotto
Serves 4

4 cups chicken stock
1 and a half cups aborio rice
500g butternut pumpkin, chopped into 1cm cubes
5 long stems of asparagus, chopped into 1cm cubes
1 medium size onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
150g chicken breast, cut into 4 large chunks
1tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
Natural greek yoghurt
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam pumpkin cubes (I did so in the microwave). Heat the stock on the stove and when it begins to boil throw in the chicken breast and allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes. When chicken breast has cooked through, remove from the stock and shred to desired size.
Heat the olive oil in another pan and fry the onions and garlic till soft. Throw in the asparagus and saute for 2 minutes before adding pumpkin and rice – toss to evenly coat. Add the hot chicken stock to the pan one ladle at a time allowing the rice to thoroughly absorb the liquid before adding another amount of stock. Add shredded chicken last. Rice should be soft with a slight bite to it – so add gradually add more stock if you find the rice hasn’t cooked through. Finally, add tablespoon of butter and stir through till melted. Spoon into bowls, top with a dollop of greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and warm yourself up from the inside out.

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