If you carved a pumpkin this year but didn’t eat it, you’re not alone. Pumpkins are more synonymous with carving than eating; however, this delicious vegetable contains an array of benefits, including carotenoids (or phytonutrients) that act as antioxidants and can protect your body from free radicals. Pumpkins are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps maintain the health of your eyes.
This risotto recipe is an indulgent dish made with Arborio, or Italian, rice, with a healthy helping of pumpkin puree. As the rice breaks down into the risotto, it yields a creamy texture that’s complemented by the butter and cheese. Pumpkin lends its signature sweetness to round out a cozy and satisfying cold-weather meal. Serve it as a weeknight dinner or a festive holiday side.
Total: 00:45 Prep: 00:10 Cook: 00:35
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 tablespoons)
1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch arugula, washed and de-stemmed
1. In a saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until just softened. Add the garlic, stirring occasionally, for another 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Stir the pumpkin puree into the onion and garlic mixture, and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice, and keep stirring for another minute.
4. Add the wine to the mixture if using, and stir constantly until absorbed, about 1 minute.
5. Stir 1 cup of the simmering broth into the mixture, and stir constantly until absorbed. Repeat this process, adding the broth 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly. Allow each cupful to be absorbed before adding the next.
6. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy but still al dente, 18 to 22 minutes.
7. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and butter.
8. At the last minute, incorporate the arugula until it wilts. Serve immediately.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Parsley: Garnish with finely chopped parsley before serving.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Spinach: Replace the arugula with baby spinach.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Chicken Stock: Replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock.
If you haven’t made risotto before, pay close attention to steps 4 and 5. By adding the simmered broth in stages, you allow the rice to slowly cook and break down. If you try to rush the process, the risotto won’t achieve the desired consistency. Ultimately, it should taste smooth and creamy.
Pumpkins can reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Enjoy them when they’re in season to keep your body healthy during cold and flu months.
If you want to add some protein to this dish, top the cooked risotto with toasted pumpkin seeds. This also gives the creamy recipe a little crunch, making it a well-rounded meal in both taste and substance.