This wonderfully creamy risotto makes the most of simple, classic Italian ingredients to create a fabulous meal.
Serves 4

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225g (8oz) Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra, to serve
40g (1 ½ oz) dried porcini mushrooms
3 tsp vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube
4 tbsp olive oil
300g (10oz) Arborio or Carnaroli rice (risotto rice)
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
300g (10oz) pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks
150ml (¼ pt) Italian dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

” Finely grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and set to one side

” Put the dried mushrooms into a heatproof bowl. Mix the stock powder or cube with 850ml (1 ½ pints) boiling water, then pour over the mushrooms and leave them to soak for about 30 minutes

” When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or large saucepan. Add the rice and sauté it gently over a medium heat for about one or two minutes, until it looks translucent, though not browned. Add the spring onions and pumpkin or butternut squash and cook gently, stirring often, for another two or three minutes

” Pour in the wine and let it bubble up for a few moments, and then add the soaked mushrooms and about two ladles of stock. Cook gently for about 20-25 minutes, adding more stock as needed, until the rice is tender and creamy

” Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and season to taste. Add shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, or freshly grate some more onto each portion, then serve

Cook’s tip: The secret of great risotto is to start off with good quality Italian risotto rice, so that it absorbs the flavours, yet still keeps its shape.

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