Right up there with the definition of eternity as “two people and a ham” (or turkey as I remarked last year) is “two people and a pumpkin.” After the pies and breads and soups and stews from a large roasted and pureed cheese pumpkin that I made at Thanksgiving, there was still a cup or so left. Perfect for a batch of risotto on a cold night at the winter solstice earlier this week. This could be made dairy free by omitting the cheese or vegetarian by substituting a vegetable stock for the chicken broth. I would make it the same way with another winter squash like hubbard or butternut.
My typical proportions for risotto are ¼ c of rice per person for a main dish, a little less for a side, cooked with 1- 1 ¼ stock. I end up using a little less stock when I’m adding something that contributes to the liquid content, like the pumpkin. So for this I used ¾ c Arborio rice, 3 c chicken (or turkey) broth and 3/4 c pureed pumpkin.
Needing something to spark up the dish, I sautéed the leaves of a few heads of Brussels sprouts in a little olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and served them on top of the risotto. A little salad of bitter greens like radicchio rounds off the meal. This was an entirely local and organic meal with the exception of the rice. I used a hard local cheese instead of the usual Parmesan. I could imagine adding herbs and spices such as ground cumin, ground allspice and cinnamon to this risotto to add a different dimension but it was truly delicious made simply.
Leftovers can be formed into patties and sautéed until brown.
Pumpkin Risotto (for 3 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish)
1 clove garlic, chopped
Butter (or olive oil)
¾ -1 c pumpkin puree
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
¾ c Arborio rice
3-4 c chicken or turkey stock, warmed
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese or other flavorful hard cheese
Lightly sauté the garlic in a little butter until soft, and add the pumpkin puree, stirring and cooking it until the puree is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.
Lightly sauté the onion in a little butter until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains. Start adding the stock, about ¼ c at a time, regulating the heat to keep the liquid at a simmer. Keep stirring and adding additional ¼ c of stock. The entire risotto should take about 20 minutes to cook. About half way through, start adding the pureed pumpkin with the stock. When the risotto is just finished, adjust the seasonings and add the grated cheese. Serve immediately.
Optional garnishes: parsley or other herbs, sautéed leaves of Brussels sprouts or other greens.