Pumpkin Stuffed with Mushroom, Raisin, and Saffron Risotto

Check out this recipe from Market volunteer Janna! It is inspired by an Armenian dish called Ghapama. Traditionally Ghapama is a pumpkin stuffed with rice, dried fruit, nuts and sweetened with honey. Janna has made this recipe on the savory side with the addition of onions, mushrooms and parmesan to achieve a sensational mix of sweet and salty in each bite.

-2 tbsp olive oil
-227g cremini mushrooms, sliced
-1 onion, finely chopped
-1 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice, uncooked
-3 to 4 cups vegetable stock, hot
-1/2 cup raisins, soaked and rinsed
-8 saffron threads, grounded and then bloomed *this ingredient can be omitted
-Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
-Knob of butter
-2 sugar pumpkins or 1 medium pumpkin
-Cilantro for garnish

Directions – Risotto:
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, over medium heat.
2. Once the oil is warm, add the mushrooms and saute them for about 10 minutes until they are soft and brown.
3. Salt the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and transfer them to a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Add the onions to the pan. If the pan is looking a little dry and the onions are sticking, add another drizzle of olive oil.
5. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until onions are soft and translucent.
6. Add the rice to the pan and let it toast for 2 minutes. Stir constantly so that the rice doesn’t burn.
7. Pour stock into the pan, just enough to cover the rice.
8. Add a big pinch of salt.
9. When the rice appears almost dry, pour in a ladle of hot stock. Repeat this process for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, making sure to stir the rice continuously.
At about the 10 minute mark, add in the fried mushrooms, raisins and saffron liquid. Mix them evenly through the rice.
10. When the rice is nearly ready, reduce the quantity of stock being added so as not to overcook the risotto. You will know it is ready when the outside of the rice is soft but still has a bit of bite (al dente).
11. Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan and knob of butter.

Directions – Pumpkin:
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Cut the pumpkin(s) by scoring around the stem (as if making a jack-o-lantern) to create a lid. Save the lid to use once the pumpkin is stuffed.
3. Scoop out and discard the seeds, leaving the pumpkin hollow.
4. Spoon in the rice mixture, leaving enough space to close the top of the pumpkin with its lid.
5. Transfer the pumpkin to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place it in the oven to cook. Bake the smaller pumpkins for 45 minutes to 1 hour, and if you are using a medium sized pumpkin, cook it for 1 to 1.5 hours. It’s ready when a toothpick slides easily into the flesh of the pumpkin.
7. Once cooked, take the pumpkin out of the oven and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
8. To serve, carefully place the pumpkin on a large plate and cut down it lengthwise to create wedges.
9. Sprinkle the cilantro and remaining parmesan over the rice; enjoy!

For instructions on how to bloom saffron, click this link