Fall Flavor at Bella Cucina

Monday, October 22, 2012

Porta Via

About a week ago, we stopped into Porta Via, (Bella Cucina's retail boutique located in the heart of the Virginia Highland neighborhood), for a quick bite and stock up of pantry needs. With Halloween just around the corner, and Thanksgiving not too far beyond, preparing dishes with classic flavors of Fall are a must and Bella has got you covered!

**10/23 UPDATE:  Porta Via is hosting a Fall cooking class and demo Thursday 10/25 at 7pm, tickets are $15...  Contact the store for more details**

Bella Cucina's Walnut Sage Pesto (above) and Sweet Pumpkin Pesto (below) are two perfect ideas for incorporating a roasted nuttiness and/or sweetness to favorite recipes....  Get cooking with creator and founder of Bella Cucina Alisa Barry's recipe for Roasted Pumpkin & Sage Risotto below....

images above are mine

1 Medium sweet pumpkin
4 cups organic chicken broth
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup canaroli or vialone nano rice
1 cup Pumpkin Pesto
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup Parmesean cheese
Roasting the Pumpkin:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the top off of the pumpkin and remove the pulp and seeds from the inside. {Save the seeds for roasting later}.
Rub the pumpkin lightly with olive oil and place on a parchment-lined sheetpan. Bake in the middle rack of the oven until golden brown and soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. The flesh of the pumpkin should be tender and easily pierced with a fork. Keep warm until ready to serve with the risotto.
Making the risotto:
Heat broth on low simmer until ready to use. In a medium- size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add white wine and reduce by half, stirring occassionally to make sure all of the rice is evenly coated and does not burn on the bottom. Turn heat to medium high. Stirring continuously, add broth by 1/2 cup increments. As the liquid evaporates, add more. Within 20 minutes , taste for a creamy texture . Add pesto and continue stirring until risotto is al dente. Stir in mascarpone and Parmesan cheese just until blended. Serve at once with fried sage leaves and grated cheese.
Making the fried sage leaves: 
You can cook these just before making the risotto. 
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10-12 fresh sage leaves, washed and dried.
Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook just until crisp, the butter will be foamy and just turning a light brown. Remove the pan from the heat and with a slotted spoon, transfer the sage leaves to a paper- lined plate. Set aside until Ready to use.

The Essence of Eating begins with the Art of Food
copyright 2009 Alisa Barry

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