If there is a time of year that is best for eating risotto, in my opinion, it is the fall. There is something so comforting about a big bowl of creamy, smooth rice adorned with seasonal flavors that is alluring. When I saw this recipe for pumpkin risotto at 9 AM, as I checked my email after arriving at work one morning a few weeks ago, I almost started drooling on my keyboard. I’m fairly certain that is much to early in the day to be dreaming of risotto, but I just could not help myself! I couldn’t wait to make it, and after a rainy morning and blah Monday, I promptly decided today would be the day.
It was awesome. Totally lived up to my expectations. Had the typical pumpkin-y flavor you’d expect, but had a nice creaminess and texture due to the bit of butter, cream and marscapone without being too heavy. The crispy pancetta does a nice job contrasting the sweetness, definitely don’t leave it out! You need to make this before you are sick of pumpkin, if that is even possible!
You will need:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
3 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons marscapone cheese, softened
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz pancetta, finely diced
In a small saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, cream, sugar, spices and 3 tablespoons of broth. Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 5 minutes. Pour into a food processor and blend in 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat your chicken broth either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. It’s always best to add your broth while it’s warm.
Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes, then add in the rice, stirring frequently for another 3 to 4 minutes – until rice is coated with oil. Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of wine. It will sizzle and steam. Once evaporated, start adding the broth.
Add in the warm broth, about a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring often. Add more broth, only when the previous addition has been incorporated. This process takes about 20 minutes.
Stir in the pumpkin mixture until completely combined. Then add in the marscapone and parmesan until smooth. Turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet until very hot. Toss in the pancetta and cook until the fat renders off and the meat is crispy; this takes about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel, but save the oil.
Serve heaping piles of this risotto in bowls, topped with the thyme, crispy pancetta, finishing salt and drizzled with the oil from the pancetta pan. SO delicious!
*If you are not someone who needs a piece of meat with every meal, this can certainly be a main course. You could also serve it with a nice pork loin or maybe a rotisserie chicken. The scallops suggested in the original recipe would be great as well.
Time: 45 minutes
adapted from: Spoon Fork Bacon