I thought I should come up with a creative and new spin on pumpkin risotto, but some flavor combos stick around for a reason. Take pumpkin and sage, for example. I didn’t see any need to mess around with that other than to add bacon (duh!). You can look back at my basic risotto recipe for a quick refresher if you want, but this fall risotto is a great place to start. It’s relatively quick to make, packed with comforting flavors, and generally a crowd-pleaser.
This recipe is written for 2 entree-sized portions, but it would feed 3-4 if you’re serving it alongside a protein or other courses. I like to roast and puree pumpkins myself (see notes below for instructions), but obviously the canned stuff works, too. Just make sure you don’t accidentally use a can of pumpkin pie filling! You can also swap pumpkin for roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or any other winter squash. For cheese, I usually go with classic parmigiano reggiano (and lots of it!), but pecorino or asiago fit in just fine here.
Buono appetito, and happy fall, y’all!
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
2 slices thick cut bacon, diced (about ½ cup)
½ cup sweet onion or shallot, finely diced
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage (4-5 leaves)
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for serving
Good olive oil for serving
Warm stock in a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce to low once warm.
Preheat a wide pan or dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Cook bacon until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Add onion with a pinch of salt and cook until it starts to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and sage, continue to cook for 1 minute.
Pour white wine into rice and stir until all liquid has evaporated. Ladle 1 cup of warmed stock into rice, cooking and continuously stirring until liquid is almost all absorbed. Repeat process with ½ cup of stock at a time until rice is al dente (nearly cooked, but slightly chewy), about 20 minutes total.
When the rice is al dente but not quite all of the stock is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in pumpkin puree, parmesan, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. If the puree makes the risotto too thick, add another splash of stock to thin it out. Adjust seasoning if necessary, adding black pepper if desired.
Serve hot with a drizzle of good olive oil and extra parmesan if desired.
To make your own pumpkin puree: remove the stem from a pie pumpkin, then halve and discard seeds. Place pumpkin halves cut side down on a lined baking sheet and roast at 375°F for 45-60 minutes or until skin is easily pierced with a fork. Cool slightly, then scoop roasted pumpkin out of skin, discard skins, and pulse pumpkin in a food processor (or run through a food mill). Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. (Can be made ahead and stored in fridge for a few days, or you can freeze it for longer.)
If you want to omit the bacon, start by cooking onions in 2 tablespoons of butter, then proceed with recipe as written. You can add 1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika if you want the smoky flavor without the bacon.