Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pumpkin Risotto

It’s turkey time!, which means two things for pumpkins nation-wide: (a) they are on sale, and (b) most of those bought for Thanksgiving will come in a can. Never one to turn down a slice of my Mamma’s pumpkin pie, I hold no grudges against a classic made with One-Pie Pumpkin, but this year I’m bringing an entirely new treat to the table…Pumpkin Risotto servedinside carved pumpkins and topped with my Naughty ‘n Nice Pumpkin Seeds. I’ll be carving at least 5 sugar pie pumpkins to feed my family and beautify our Thanksgiving spread, but since Jack O ‘Lantern season has long past and pumpkins are no longer in high demand, the only painful cost you’ll suffer when serving this dish is the toll it’ll take on your carving wrist. Happy carving! Happy stirring!Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Risotto (4 servings)

1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil

1 small Red Onion (diced)

1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin (carved, seeds separated, meat diced, shell and lid reserved)

1 ½ cups Arborio Rice

1/2 cup dry Marsala Wine

8 cups Chicken Stock (boiling)

4 TB unsalted Butter

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Handful of Fresh Sage (shredded)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

**Naughty ‘n Nice Pumpkin Seeds (optional topping)

**Pumpkin Shell (optional presentation)

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat until you can no longer hold your hand over the pan for more than 2 seconds. Add the onion and pumpkin and cook until softened and translucent but not brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the rice and sage and stir until the rice becomes opaque, you should be able to smell the rice toasting and the herb crisping, 3-4 minutes more.

Add the wine and allow the alcohol to burn off for a minute; then add 1 ladleful of boiling stock at a time. Between ladles of stock stir constantly until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep at it until the stock is gone, the rice is tender yet still al dente, and the risotto is creamy, about 18 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and cheese. Stir and season with salt and pepper. If a pumpkin shell is available, pour the risotto into the pumpkin (keeping in mind you’ll now have a lot more risotto than you did pumpkin guts). When serving individual portions, sprinkle with a final layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano and top with pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin lid adds a nice touch, and the presentation alone is a stunning table decoration.

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