This is a vegetarian dish! But, if you eliminate the cheese, this would make an excellent vegan dish.
It started a few years ago….
While having dinner with my serious foodie friends. I scrunched my nose when one friend ordered pumpkin risotto for their main course.
We would all have a taste of everyone’s main on our bread plates before we started.
The Pumpkin Risotto was the winning dish!
2Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups carnaroli rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup apple cider
4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups diced fresh ‘pie’ pumpkin
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup walnut pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
1. Heat 4 cups of vegetable stock. Keep warm.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pan with high sides, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, about 1/8 teaspoon as the onions become sweet tasting. This helps to layer the flavours.
3. Add carnaroli rice and cook a few minutes longer to coat all rice kernels in oil but not browning.
4. Add wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.
5. Add apple cider and ladle in hot stock one cup at a time.
6. Add ‘pie’ pumpkin, sage and thyme and cook until all liquid is absorbed. About 18 minutes. (Mix, but do not keep stiring)
7. Before serving add walnuts, salt and pepper (to taste), olive oil and grated parmigiano.
Every fall Pumpkin Risotto is on the menu. The flavour is stunning! You would swear that there is butter and cream in this risotto but it is completely absent.
Carnaroli Rice: This is partially due to the cooking method as well as the substitution of the classic arborio rice with CARNAROLI Rice.
COOKING TIP 👨🍳
Most chefs will argue the cooking time should be only 18 minutes. A chef’s school instructor told me that the famous chef who’s pumpkin risotto I fell in love with lets his risotto sit and cook without stirring. At the end he just gives the risotto a toss. So far, I have been reluctant to try this method as I have put so many good ingredients in it. One day?
Make sure that you buy edible pumpkins and not the ones that are meant for carving. Pumpkins belong to the winter squash family along with butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. Pumpkins grown for eating ( not carving ) are called: sugar pumpkins, sweet pumpkins, cheese pumpkins, pie pumpkin & some heirloom varieties.
TASTE TEST Results You Need To Know: I baked fresh pumpkin in the oven for 60 minutes at 350F. After it was baked and cooled, I opened a tin of pumpkin puree and tasted both of them. What a difference! The tinned pumpkin had a muddy taste while the ‘pie’ pumpkin tasted divine! I vow to never buy tinned pumpkin again!
Pumpkin has many health benefits. They are a great source of carotene which is one of our major antioxidants that helps to protect us against certain kinds of cancer (particularly lung cancer) and heart disease. Pumpkin aids in blood sugar metabolism and the health of the pancreas. Along with the vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is helpful in the relief of bronchial asthma, and promotes healthy lungs and throat. European folk medicine acknowledges pumpkin as a remedy for respiratory and digestive ailments.