This Italian pumpkin risotto recipe makes a wonderful meal for any occasion, and it's ready in just 20 minutes!
Pumpkin risotto is a popular recipe from northern Italy that is incredibly easy to make at home, and it's sure to wow your guests at the dinner table on any special occasion.
If you’re looking for a fancy but easy holiday dinner recipe for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s eve, you better plan to serve this risotto recipe.
Risotto has a reputation to be one of the hardest Italian dishes to recreate at home. But I promise it's actually very very easy to make.
Choose the right ingredients, and in four simple steps, you'll have a super creamy and rich pumpkin risotto.
Pumpkin Risotto Ingredients
To make the best pumpkin risotto you don't need fancy ingredients.
You actually need less than 10 simple ingredients:
- Pumpkin: Go for the dense and mildy sweet Musquée de Provence (or Fairytale pumpkin), or for the creamy and nutty-flavored Delica pumpkin. The classic sugar pumpkin works great too.
- Rice: The best rice for risotto is Carnaroli rice, this medium-grained rice is key to that sought-after creaminess, plus it’s harder to overcook. You can also use chefs-favorite Acquerello rice, Vialone nano or Arborio rice.
- Wine: Use good-quality dry white wine. if you don't have any wine, omit it or add an extra ladle of stock.
- Stock: Use homemade vegetable broth for a delicate note, chicken or beef broth for a stronger flavor. If you use shop-bought stock, make sure to pick a low-sodium option.
- Butter: It's the key ingredient for the mantecatura step, and makes your risotto rich and super creamy.
- Parmesan cheese: 24-months aged Parmigiano Reggiano is my go-to choice, but you can use Grana Padano too.
- Shallots: They have a mild flavor and work great in risotto recipes, you can substitute with golden onion if needed.
- Fresh herbs: Finish off the dish with freshly chopped parsley or sage for an extra aromatic note.
How to cook the pumpkin
Preparing the pumpkin for this recipe is pretty easy.
I use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkin into wedges, peel the skin, then remove the seeds, and cut it into chunks (here's a how to cut a pumpkin tutorial).
Cooking tip: You can cook the pumpkin faster by cutting it into little chunks, so that the cooking time will be about 10 minutes.
Once you have the pumpkin chunks ready, you have two options on how to cook it for this risotto.
Oven-roasted pumpkin: for a roast pumpkin risotto, roast the pumpkin beforehand (even the day before).
Cube the pumpkin, drizzle with olive oil, and bake in the oven at 180 C/360 F for 20-30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
Cook with the risotto: That's my favorite way, it allows you to make a one-pot risotto with no fuss and not much washing up after.
Cut the pumpkin into little chunks and stir-fry in the pan until slightly softened (step 1 of the recipe), then continue to cook it with the risotto.
How to make pumpkin risotto
Making risotto at home is actually very easy, and it takes about 20-30 minutes from start to finish.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Cook the pumpkin.
Heat a large pot with olive oil, add the pumpkin and onion and cook, stirring often for 7-8 minutes, adding a splash of stock to soften the veggies.
STEP 2. Toast the rice.
Transfer the veggies into a container, add the rice to the pan and toast it for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the wine, and let it evaporate.
STEP 3. Cook the rice and pumpkin.
Return the veggies into the pot with the rice and stir all ingredients.
Add a ladle of stock every now and then and continue to cook until the rise is cooked through but still has a bite.
STEP 4. Mantecatura.
Once ready, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest 2-3 minutes. Add cold butter and parmesan cheese and stir well.
Sprinkle the parsley all over the risotto, season with freshly cracked black pepper to taste and serve.
Risotto cooking tips
- Don't wash your rice beforehand as this removes the starch, which is what helps give risotto its creamy texture.
- Do NOT use cold stock when making risotto. Cold stock will cool everything down and mess up the cooking process.
- Cook your risotto on a low, simmering heat and add the stock gradually.
- You need to babysit the pan, don’t let the rice simmer unattended.
- Check and stir often to prevent it from drying out or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Stir your risotto every 30 seconds - 1 minute, a bit of shaking is also recommended. I like to shake the pot with one hand and mix the rice with a wooden spoon with the other.
How to store risotto
You can store your leftover pumpkin risotto in an airtight container and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
You can also use the leftover risotto to make Sicilian arancini.
In Italy, risotto is main course and is usually served on its own, just like pasta.
But you can serve it as a side with almost any meat, from chicken to fish, scallops, and beef.
I also like to swap the classic Milanese risotto with this pumpkin version and serve it along classic ossobuco milanese.
Yes, you can! Transfer leftovers to a freezer-friendly airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat on the stove or in the oven and add 1 tablespoon of butter.
Vegan pumpkin risotto
To make a vegan pumpkin risotto, omit the Parmesan cheese (or use vegan Parmesan-style cheese) and substitute the butter with a vegan alternative.
Did You Try This Recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Pumpkin Risotto - Italian Recipe
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 500 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 shallots, finely minced
- 320 g Carnaroli rice, or Arborio, Vialone Nano
- 60 ml white wine
- 1 l vegetable stock, or chicken stock
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 80 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
- Heat a large pot with the extra-virgin olive oil, add the pumpkin and shallots and sauté, stirring often for 7-8 minutes, adding a splash of stock to soften the vegetables.
- Transfer the pumpkin and shallots into a container and return the pot to low-medium heat. Add the rice and toast it for 1-2 minutes, until translucent, stirring often. Add the wine, cotninue to stir the rice and let it evaporate.
- Return the veggies into the pot with the rice and stir all the ingredients together. Add a ladle of stock and stir until the rice has absorbed it. Continue to add a ladle of stock at a time until the rice is cooked but still has a bite. Season with salt and pepper and taste every now and then to check if the rice is done, it will take about 15 minutes to cook until al dente.
- Once ready, remove the pot from the heat and let the risotto rest 2-3 minutes. Add cold butter and parmesan cheese and stir well to bring all the ingredients together. Sprinkle the parsley all over the risotto, season with freshly cracked black pepper to taste and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.