Pumpkin Risotto

The air is getting crisper and nights are getting longer, its sign that fall is on its way but those are the only signs because summer is still lingering; I patiently wait. Summer in October? you ask… yes! I know this because my garden still has tomatoes and I’m still wearing tank tops and flip-flops, for a girl who has spent most of her life in California fall is a fleeting moment that I absolutely enjoy and try to take in as much as possible! I’m a sucker for pumpkin anything. Seriously just ask the people at my Trader Joe’s. They got smarter and decided to have a whole shelve dedicated to all things pumpkin – pumpkin-coffee, pumpkin butter, pumpkin chai, pumpkin loaf mix, pumpkin chocolate, and so much more…I of course had to have one of each 🙂 I think it makes me feel closer to the season which is why my kitchen becomes a solace for all things fall.  But nothing makes me as happy as pumpkin risotto! The warm and decadent rice perfectly tender to the tooth is rich and fragrant with the spices of fall.

Risotto is one of those dishes that can easily intimidate a cook but it’s very easy to make. There are two simple rules NEVER add all the liquid at once and be PATIENT. On one of my trips to a local farmers market I picked up a jar of freshly made pumpkin puree if you have access to freshly made puree buy it! If you don’t I highly encourage you to make your own its very easy! Of course you can use can puree (I like the Trader Joe’s one) but you have not had pumpkin risotto unless you try making it with the fresh stuff!

Yield: Makes 6 first-course servings
Ingredients

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
2 (2 1/2- to 3-inch-diameter) pumpkin cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
1 small shallot chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped and smashed
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups low-salt organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 of good parmesan cheese, grated
2 sage leave
1 rosemary spring
1 french tarragon spring
Sea-salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Topping
Baby arugula

Instructions
Place broth, sage, pumpkin puree, and rosemary in a pot to simmer and keep at a low simmer. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  When it is melted add the pumpkin cubes and cook for about 5 minutes, add the onion, shallot, and garlic and cook until translucent, another 4 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for about two minutes so it can absorb the butter and toast a bit. Add one ladle of stock and stir constantly until absorbed. In the last few minutes add the Parmesan and stir in. Repeat this process until risotto is slightly al-dente, definitely not soupy or mushy. Serve immediately and top with arugula and the remaining cheese.

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