One of my favourite cuisines to both cook and eat has to be Italian and I’ll take any chance I can get to learn from the experts. I recently picked up some great tips for cooking the perfect risotto from celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo, as well as a quick and easy recipe for pumpkin risotto, the perfect dish for Autumn.


Risotto All Zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)

Both Gennaro’s tips and his recipe were too good not to share so I’ve made a short video from my morning with Gennaro and here’s the recipe itself, just in time for Halloween.


Serves 4, suitable for vegetarians

  • 3 x tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 x small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 300g Carnaroli rice
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 300g pumpkin, clean weight cubed
  • Approx. 1.5 litres vegetable stock, kept hot
  • 40g butter
  • 60g parmesan cheese, freshly grated and extra to serve



  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion, celery, chilli and rosemary until the vegetables soften.
  2. Add the rice, stirring well to ensure that each one is coated in oil and lightly toasted for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the wine, stirring all the time and allowing the wine to evaporate.
  4. Add the pumpkin cubes and stir.
  5. Immediately add a ladle of stock and stir.
  6. As the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle of stock and stir.
  7. Continue to do this for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked ‘al dente’. Meaning it is slightly under cooked and still firm to the bite. (If you’d like to know why watch the video).
  8. Remove from the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan.
  9. Serve immediately.

Tip from Gennaro: Use the pumpkin skin and other peelings or vegetables to make the stock and simmer for at least two hours. If time is short use an organic stock cube instead. Do watch the video to pick up plenty more tips.

Kathryn Burrington ( with Gennaro Contaldo

With thanks to Gennaro Contaldo of BBC1s ‘Saturday Kitchen’ and ‘Two Greedy Italian’s’ fame. He’s a brand ambassador for Citalia who hosted this event. Keep up-to-date with the latest stories and more authentic Italian recipes from Gennaro by visiting

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Pumpkin Risotto recipe from Italian celebrity chef, Gennaro Contaldo

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