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Easy Pumpkin Risotto

This deliciously savory Easy Pumpkin Risotto is a perfectly delicious Fall meal. You decide if you want to roast your pumpkin or with the help of canned, pureed pumpkin, you can make this for a weeknight dinner option. This is a perfect Vegan option with a simple switch of ingredients and will taste delicious. And for the ultimate topping, we add Charred Brussels Sprouts with Bacon that has a hint of maple for a total wow dish, that by the way is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish.

pumpkin risotto in pumpkin bowl
Pumpkin Risotto is a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving

What is Risotto?

Risotto is one is one of those unsung culinary heroes where humble ingredients come together in the most remarkable and delicious ways. Simply ingredients like Arborio rice, onion, broth and cheese are the main ingredients to an absolutely delicious dish. In northern Italy, risotto is the often the first course and depending on the region, it can vary immensely. My recipe is Risotto alla Zucca that uses pumpkin and nutmeg as the flavoring to this easy and entertaining-worthy recipe. It does take a little effort due the stirring, which is the traditional method, but well worth it. The key ingredient is the starchy, Arborio rice.

Best rice for Risotto

I mentioned Arborio rice, which in my opinion is the easiest to find in most well stocked grocery stores. Second to that there are two other superb options: Vialone Nano and Carnaroli. According to TheKitchn, these two options are superb for Risotto. Carnaroli is the rice that chefs like to use for risotto for it’s flavor and shape. In addition, it’s the most forgiving for making a delicious, creamy risotto.

Vialone Nano rice is a short grain that grows in the Veneto region of Italy. This rice yields a super creamy consistency risotto. Eataly carries both here is Los Angeles, but my local grocery store has Arborio which for me, worked out perfectly.

Easy tips for making this Pumpkin risotto recipe

Before you start this Easy Pumpkin Risotto ensure that you have all ingredients ready to go. This moves along quickly and since you do need to do a bit of stirring, it’s nice to have everything ready to go.

Choosing a fresh pumpkin for Risotto

During Fall, squash abounds in the supermarkets. My favorite pumpkin for this recipe is the small Pumpkin Pie variety. It yields the perfect amount for a recipe like this and it’s also flavorful. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use Pumpkin, Butternut or roasted Acorn squash is a perfect stand in. They both roast easily and impart a slight sweet flavor.

How to Roast fresh pumpkin

Pre-heat oven to 400ºF. Wash and dry the pumpkin. Carefully slice lengthwise and remove any seeds and membrane from inner cavity. On a rimmed baking sheet, place cut side down and roast for about 35 minutes or until completely tender. You want this soft but not mushy. Allow to cool enough to handle and remove pulp with a spoon and place in small bowl. Mash until it’s a the consistency of mashed potatoes or you can opt to process in a food processor which is what I do. The skins can be discarded. Now you are ready to make the risotto.

What kind of canned pumpkin is best for Risotto?

If you opt for making this Pumpkin Risotto recipe with canned pumpkin , this recipe will yield outstanding results. For canned pumpkin, buy a good quality 100% pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Also, Pumpkin puree and 100% canned pumpkin are the same thing.

Let’s make Pumpkin Risotto!

Roast pumpkin to directions above. The roasting process with take about 45 minutes. Or if you opt for canned pumpkin, continue to read below.

Preparing the risotto

It’s important to note that with this dish its necessary to have all ingredients in place ready to go. While you are gathering ingredients, heat broth to a slow simmer and then turn down heat to keep on a low simmer.

NOTE ABOUT STOVE HEAT: Many new stoves have larger burners where medium heat is quite hot, for this dish, if you have an extra large burner, you should set it to medium-low. Heat should be warm enough to keep the mixture active but not low enough to struggle to cook down.

Preheat a heavy wide sauce pan or Dutch/French oven over medium heat.

Add two tablespoons of salted butter and when it melts, add onion and allow to soften until translucent not browned, about 4 minutes. Now add rice and sauté about 1 minute to allow the rice to be coated completely with the butter and onions. Add wine, stir and allow to cook until wine has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Now add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue until all broth has been used. You will see the risotto get thicker, creamier as you go. Total process will take about 20 minutes and rice will be tender in the end. Now add the pumpkin puree and stir until completely combined. Stir in remaining butter, and parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Stir well until all ingredients are fully combined and risotto is creamy and thick. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

What to serve with Pumpkin Risotto

This dish is a full entree if you add vegetables like Charred Brussels Sprouts and Bacon. But additionally, this Risotto is perfect with my Simple Herb Roast Chicken or for a really special side dish for Thanksgiving, like my Oven Roasted Herbed Turkey Breast. Additionally, a pork tenderloin or pork chops are also perfect.

How to reheat leftover Risotto

If you have Risotto left over, the best way to reheat is on medium low heat with some of the same broth you used and a little butter. I use a non stick pan, place on medium low heat and add the risotto, cover with a pan lid and warm until its starts coming apart. I gently stir and add a little broth to help it along. Once warmed through, I add a little bit of butter, stir until melted, add a little grated or shredded Parmesan and serve. Please note that you will have some breakage in the rice, this is going to be normal, but it will still taste great on the reheat.

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square image pumpkin risotto

Easy Pumpkin Risotto

Ana P @ Claudia’s Table
October 30, 2022
This deliciously savory Pumpkin Risotto is a perfectly delicious Fall meal and a perfect main or side dish.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Roasting pumpkin (optional) 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 217 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 rimmed baking sheet if roasting pumpkin
  • 1 large, wide bottom heavy duty saucepan
  • 1 small pot

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tbsp butter salted
  • 3/4 cup onion , white, yellow or shallots finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine dry, like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 1/2 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth reduced sodium
  • 1 cup Pumpkin puree freshly roasted or canned (see note)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt Kosher
  • 1/4 tsp pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

Pumpkin Risotto

  • In a small pan, heat chicken or vegetable broth until it's a slow simmer. Keep broth simmering.
  • Preheat a heavy wide sauce pan or Dutch/French oven over medium heat.
  • NOTE ABOUT STOVE HEAT: Many new stoves have larger burners where medium heat is quite hot, for this dish, if you have an extra large burner, you should set it to medium-low. Heat should be warm enough to keep the mixture active but not low enough to struggle to cook down.
  • Add two tablespoons of salted butter and when it melts, add onion and allow to soften until translucent not browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Add rice and sauté about 1 minute to allow the rice to be coated completely.
  • Add wine, stir and allow to cook until wine has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  • Now add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir rice mixture until almost completely absorbed.
  • Add another 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue until all broth has been used. You will see the risotto get thicker, creamier as you go.
  • Total process will take about 20 minutes and rice will be tender in the end.
  • Now add the pumpkin puree and stir until completely combined.
  • Stir in remaining butter, and parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Stir well until all ingredients are fully combined and risotto is creamy and thick.
  • Check for salt and add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. 
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

NOTE: Freshly grated parmesan cheese has a sharper taste than pre-grated cheese. There is a definite flavor difference so I highly recommend freshly grated cheese.
Also note that canned pumpkin will be slightly sweeter than fresh roasted pumpkin. You can add a pinch of sugar to the risotto at the end. This is optional. 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 217kcal

Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.

Keyword Arborio rice, Brussels sprouts, Pumpkin, Risotto, Squash

All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

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