Quinoa Risotto, Roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon

, from Issue #68. September, 2016
Photography by Aaron Mclean.
Quinoa Risotto, Roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon

Quinoa is a very mild tasting “grain” and needs well-flavoured ingredients to bring out the best in it. This is now a fairly standard pantry ingredient and is widely available. 

Serves: 4


500 grams pumpkin, peeled and thinly sliced
olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, diced with fronds reserved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely
chopped rosemary
1 cup white quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
½ cup white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, hot
juice half a lemon
⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
⅓ cup sour cream 

To serve
12 slices streaky bacon, cooked until crisp
½ cup toasted pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.

Brush the pumpkin with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Roast until tender then set aside.

Risotto: Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and cook the fennel, garlic and rosemary with a good pinch of salt until tender. Add the quinoa and the wine and let it bubble up and reduce down. 

Add a couple of ladles of stock to the pan and when it’s absorbed add more stock. It will cook much quicker than a regular risotto and you only need to stir it occasionally. When cooked take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, parmesan and sour cream. Roughly chop half of the pumpkin and stir into the risotto.

To serve: Divide the risotto between warm plates and top with the remaining sliced pumpkin, the bacon, pine nuts and reserved fennel fronds.