Pumpkin and Halloumi Risotto Cakes with Pomegranate Sauce

, from Issue #21. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Pumpkin and Halloumi Risotto Cakes with Pomegranate Sauce

Serves: 8


Risotto cakes
1 cup peeled and diced pumpkin
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
small knob of butter
1⁄2 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1⁄2 cup risotto rice such as Arborio
1⁄2 cup white wine
1⁄2 cup grated fresh Parmesan
65 grams haloumi cheese, very finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To crumb the cakes
1 cup seasoned flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1⁄2 cups panko crumbs

Capsicum and pomegranate dipping sauce
2 red capsicums, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil sea
salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan and add the pumpkin. Season and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender. Cool.

Bring the stock to the boil and keep warm over a low heat.

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and thyme, season and cook until the onion is tender.

Stir in the rice and when it is coated in the oil and warmed through, increase the heat and pour in the wine, stirring until it is completely absorbed.

Begin adding the hot stock, a ladle at a time, stirring well between each addition.

Allow the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next quantity. When the rice is just tender and all the stock has been fully absorbed, remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Season well and gently stir in the pumpkin. The mixture needs to be quite dry or the risotto cakes will fall apart.

Spread the risotto onto a flat tray and when cool, stir in the haloumi and coriander. Refrigerate overnight or until well chilled. Roll tablespoonfuls of risotto into walnut-sized balls. Lightly oil your hands to make this process easier.

Put the flour, beaten eggs and crumbs into individual bowls. Roll the balls in the flour, then the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then in the crumbs. Place on a lined tray, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. This can be done one day ahead.

Sauce: Place everything except the oil in a food processor. Process until smooth, then with the motor running drizzle in the oil to form a thick sauce. Season.

To finish: Heat a little olive oil and a knob of butter in a sauté pan and cook the risotto cakes on both sides until golden and heated through. Place in a bowl and serve with the capsicum sauce for dipping. Makes about 30

The risotto cakes can be cooked ahead then reheated in a warm oven.

Christmas menu: Serve with Baked Salmon with Grape, Almond and Herb SaladTomato and Ricotta Salad with Citrus GremolataMushroom, Edamame Bean and Crouton Salad, and a Chocolate Fig and Hazelnut Meringue with Summer Berries and Mango to finish.