This time of year when pumpkins are plentiful, I try to find new twists on their preparation. This is one of my favorite risotto recipes that exudes pumpkin flavor. Small sugar pumpkins are best and can easily be found at the market, but you can experiment with other varieties. Take this dish from comfort style to sublime with a drizzle truffle oil and a garnish of crispy fried sage leaves. Bon Appetito!
For the Risotto
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups pumpkin broth (see recipe below)
1 Tbs fresh sage leaves; minced
2 cups fresh arugula, washed and chopped
1/3 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 Tbs unsalted butter
For the Pumpkin Broth
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 medium leek, light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 15oz can unsweetened pumpkin puree
8 cups organic chicken stock
1 each bay leaf
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 each allspice berries
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 stick cinnamon
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
In a medium saucepan, heat pumpkin broth to a simmer.
In a medium saucepan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice and pumpkin and stir with a wooden spoon to coat with olive oil. Cook until the rice has absorbed the oil. Add the white wine and stir until the rice has absorbed the wine. Ladle 1/2 cup of broth into the pan and stir until it is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup broth and stir until it is absorbed. Repeat and continue with 1/2 cups of broth, stirring after each addition. This slow process allows the starch to be slowly released from the kernels of rice and provide the creaminess to the risotto. This should take about 20 - 25 minutes. When ready, the rice should be al dente and not fully cooked through.
Stir in the sage, arugula, mozzarella, salt, pepper and 1/2 of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Swirl in the butter.
Transfer to a warm serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cheese.Note: Risotto does not keep well the next day so plan to eat what you cook immediately.
For the Pumpkin Broth
In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and leeks and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and stir, cooking for 2-3 minutes to heat it up. Add the stock, bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and maple syrup.
Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Strain broth through a fine sieve without mashing the vegetables, discard vegetables. You want a thin broth.
Tips: You can put the spices in a cheesecloth sachet to remove easily.
Author: Chef Stacey Adams