When people think of pumpkin, they think primarily of pie, but savory pumpkin dishes are one of my favorite fall treats. This Pumpkin Risotto is a perfect weekend cooking project.
Risotto is one of those fancy restaurant meals that just plain isn’t that hard to make at home. Sure, it involves some patience and stirring, but it isn’t hard.
This time of year, I highly recommend finding a small pie pumpkin and roasting it for the pumpkin for this recipe. The fresh pumpkin has a more interesting and deep flavor and texture. This is the time of year to try it! If you are making this and can’t find a full pie pumpkin, you can absolutely use canned pumpkin.
Roasting the Pumpkin
You can do this well in advance if you want. Just make sure to buy a pie pumpkin. You can’t really cook with the larger pumpkins you use for carving. They are too stringy and basically flavorless at that size.
The smaller pie pumpkins have delicious flavor though.
Just chop the pumpkin in half and roast it for 30-40 minutes until it’s very tender. A fork should easily go into it.
Scrape out the seeds and stringy bits and you’ll be left with about two cups of pumpkin puree. I wouldn’t go much more than that, but if you have a smaller pumpkin and end up with less puree, that’s fine.
Mash the pumpkin puree together in a bowl and you are ready to go!
Cooking the Risotto
I started this risotto the way you always do. Olive oil, onions, and garlic in a large skillet. Cook them on medium heat until the veggies turn translucent. be careful not to caramelize or burn the onions.
Then add the risotto and fry it in the skillet for a minute or two.
Add the white wine to the skillet and use the wine to deglaze the pan. Classic risotto right here!
Now for the curve ball! Stir in all your pumpkin!
Be sure to add the pumpkin AFTER the wine or else the pumpkin will absorb all the wine and taste kinda funky.
Once your pumpkin is added, start slowly adding the hot stock in 1/2-3/4 cup batches.
This is an optional step, but kind of kicks the dish up a notch. Crispy sage! Easy to make – just add some oil to a small skillet and fry the leaves for a minute or two. Drain them on a paper towel and they will be really crispy and delicious.
Finishing the Risotto
Continue to ladle in the hot stock and stir the risotto. Have patience here. It’ll take 30-40 minutes and many batches of stock to get the rice cooked. If you run out of hot stock, you can use water. No worries.
The risotto is done when it has really filled up the skillet and is tender but not mushy.
At the very end of cooking, stir in a knob of butter and some parmesan cheese. Taste the risotto and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serve the pumpkin risotto right away with some crispy sage and roasted pumpkin seeds!
Making the risotto in advance
This is a great dish to make in advance. I actually think risotto is better if you make it in advance and reheat it for serving (this is what restaurants do).
To do this successfully, stop cooking the risotto while it still has some bite to it. Don’t let it completely finish cooking. Probably around 25-30 minutes of cooking is good. Then you can store it in the fridge.
When you are ready to eat, add the risotto to a skillet with some butter and a splash of water and heat it over low heat. It’ll loosen and finish cooking and be perfect.
I hope you try this Pumpkin Risotto recipe. It’s a great Sunday cooking project and is special enough to be worth the work!
Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Sage
- 1 small pie pumpkin, roasted (about 2 cups pumpkin puree)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, hot
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Roasted pumpkin seeds, optional garnish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh sage leaves
- Turn oven to 350˚F. Cut pie pumpkin in half and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake pie pumpkin for 30-40 minutes until it’s very tender. Then remove seeds and stringy flesh and scrape out edible flesh with a spoon. Mash in a bowl. You need about 2 cups of pumpkin. You can use canned pumpkin optionally.
- In a large high-walled skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until they turn translucent – 4-5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add arborio rice to the skillet and cook rice for 1-2 minutes. Then add white wine to deglaze pan.
- When wine is mostly cooked off, add pumpkin puree and 1/2 cup hot stock. Stir together.
- Continue slowly cooking risotto, adding hot stock in 1/2-3/4 cup batches. When skillet is dry, add more stock. You will use all the stock and maybe even need some extra water. Continue to cook risotto until it’s creamy smooth and risotto just has a tiny bite to it. It shouldn’t be completely mushy. It should take 30-40 minutes to cook the risotto.
- At the very end of cooking, add butter and parmesan to the risotto and stir together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the risotto right away with crispy sage and pumpkin seeds. Optionally, you can cook the risotto in advance and reheat it with a splash of water in a skillet over low heat.
- For crispy sage, add oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add fresh sage leaves and fry for about a minute. Use tongs to flip leaves and fry for another 30 seconds or so. Remove leaves and let dry on a paper towel. They will get really crispy as they dry.