La Buena Vida Episode #2 Mindfulness & Pumpkin Risotto

Hola amigos, como estais?

Hi friends, how are you?

I know that many of you are already home isolating due to the Covid19 virus.

So in this little series, Id’ love give you some mindfulness intermingled with cooking and speckled with Spanish notes.

Before I start cooking one of my favourite meals(and yes I know it's Italian but I love it)…it’s the perfect time to think about how we speak to ourselves…are you kind and understanding as you are to your friends, family or colleagues OR are you mean to yourself? Is self criticism your first point of call or can you show yourself mercy? Perhaps this is the time to stop the judgement, stop being so impatient with yourself while you give even a stranger more time to be a hero?

You are the main character in your life…would the hero beat himself or herself up every day?

Be mindful of your voice, your tone and harsh expectations of are doing the best you can.

So now onto a meal that calms, nourishes and soothes me, anytime any day…it is my version of Pumpkin risotto. It’s such a supple dish, the smoothness and richness yet so simple, only a handful of ingredients.

It is such a mindful meal because it engages all the senses, sight, smell, taste, feel and that intuitive knowing it’s just right.

Empezamos…let's start!

I like to take my time to prepare by mindfully chopping the pumpkin, feeling it’s softness and the colour like a ripe apricots. It can be like a meditation..being solely in this moment.

Now pour some olive oil into a pot, add some chopped shallots or onion and cook for 5 to 10 minutes over low heat, allowing them to soften.

While it cooks, really enjoy the smell.

Then add the pumpkin. I cut the pumpkin into small cubes to let it cook evenly & soften, then pour the white wine in and you can’t miss this part, it really does make a difference and make sure it’s evaporated before moving on.

Now pour in your rice, I love the sound of the tiny morsels trickling into the pot. Toast these for a couple of minutes then add just enough stock or broth of choice (I prefer chicken) to cover the rice and pumpkin.

As soon as the rice begins to dry out add another ladle of stock or broth and stir occasionally.

This process of ladling in broth will take about 15-20 minutes. A perfect time to mindfully be present with only the pot in front of you as your focus.

Cooking is such a calming thing, especially with a risotto, you take a deep breathe in, taking in the sweet aromas of pumpkin and then breathe out as you stir gently.

This is your time.

When the rice and all the stock is gone, make sure the rice is still a little al dente (slightly hard when bitten) as it keeps cooking off the heat, then stir in the butter..I love that sound of luscious golden yellow butter languidly lacing the rice…you can also add salt and pepper at this time.

And finally add the parmigiano cheese. This is the best cheese as its savoury bite perfectly harmonises with the sweet pumpkin.

I like to add a little sprig of basil and more cheese then serve immediately, no time to waste …

And take your time to eat this delicious meal, take each spoonful slowly, savouring the marriage of flavours…be mindful of making this a ritual…a good meal, any meal is a gift to so many, so why rush this? You’ve waited so long, making it with loving patience.

Here's the recipe for you to try...

Ingredients serve about 4 people, cooked in about 30 minutes.

  • 4 cups (about 1 liter) of broth/ stock

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped

  • (300g) pumpkin or butternut squash, skin removed, seeds discarded, and the rest chopped in small cubes.

  • ¼ cup (59ml) dry white wine

  • 1 cup (175g) carnaroli rice (p.s I have used medium grain rice & it still tasted great)

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter

  • ⅓ cup (30g) parmigiano reggiano plus extra for topping :)

Life should be a thing of joy, beauty and leave judgement and impatience behind and focus on the good in your day, in your friendships, in your home, in yourself. La Buena Vida is the embodiment of mindful living…acknowledging each moment as the best one yet.

In the next video, I’ll be cooking another delicious morsel and perhaps giving you a few Spanish words to play with…they say learning a language is good for the mind and soul, so this is the perfect time, don’t you think?

Hasta pronto mis amigos y buen provecho!Until next time and enjoy!

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