Rich and creamy Pumpkin Risotto is the ultimate comfort food- Learn all the tips to make traditional Italian risotto at home.
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 remake at home. But it's simply not true!
Choose the right produce and take care of each step and you won't mess it up, I promise.
To make the best pumpkin risotto you don't need fancy ingredients.
You actually need less than 10 simple ingredients:
- Parmesan cheese
- shallots (or golden onion)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- parsley (or sage)
Quality is the key here, so follow my ingredient tips below to make the best of this classic Italian dish.
One of the biggest mistakes when making risotto is choosing the wrong rice.
The best rice for risotto is Carnaroli, this medium-grained rice is key to that sought-after creaminess, plus it’s harder to overcook.
If you can find it, try chefs-favourite Acquerello’s aged Carnaroli rice.
It's nutrient-rich just like brown rice, and it has the perfect texture and aroma.
Alternatively, you can also use Arborio rice or Vialone nano.
My favorite pumpkin for risotto is the french Musquée de Provence (also know as Fairytale pumpkin).
Its deep orange flesh is dense, mildly sweet, and with an amazing flavor, and a subtle nutty taste, which makes it the perfect pumpkin to star in a risotto.
Another favorite is the Delica pumpkin ( a variety of Japanese kabocha pumpkin), which has a soft and creamy consistency with a rich, very sweet, and nutty flavor.
The classic sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin is also a good alternative.
Use homemade vegetable broth for a delicate note, chicken or beef broth for a stronger flavour.
If you use shop-bought stock, make sure to pick a low-sodium option.
Always use good-quality white wine. It's not necessary by any means, but it adds complexity to the dish.
If you don’t have wine, or don’t want to open a bottle, feel free to omit it or substitute with an extra ladle of stock.
HOW TO PREPARE 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).
My tip for cooking pumpkin quickly is to cut it into little chunks, so the cooking time is no more than 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 very little chunks and sautee in the pan until slightly softened (step 1 of the recipe), then continue to cook it with the risotto.
HOW TO COOK PUMPKIN RISOTTO
The preparation of risotto is actually relatively easy. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
- 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 and return the pot to a low-medium heat. Add the rice 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 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 along to check if the rice is done.
- 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 to bring all the ingredients together.
- 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 in the other.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH RISOTTO?
In Italy, risotto is basically an entree and 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.
To keep it traditional but still give it a nice twist, replace the classic Milanese risotto with this pumpkin version and serve it along classic ossobuco.
HOW TO STORE
You can store your leftover pumpkin risotto in an airtight container and refrigerate for 1-2 days. You can also use leftover risotto to make Sicilian arancini.
VEGAN PUMPKIN RISOTTO OPTION
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!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Traditional Pumpkin Risotto
- 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
- 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.