Helping to make risotto was one of my favorite kitchen duties as a kid. I was the chief stirrer, tasked with standing over the stove and stirring continuously as the rice soaked in all of the wonderful broth. I loved watching the risotto plump up before my eyes, magically becoming creamy even though there wasn’t any cream involved. To this day, risotto remains one of my favorite things to make. I find it so relaxing to stir the risotto – without any distractions like my phone or laptop, I am forced to take a step back and reflect on the day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do that often enough.
I love playing around with variations of risotto. The lovely Nigella Lawson taught me that you can get quite creative with risotto combinations, and it was thanks to her that I started experimenting more with the dish. I always use the same base and wait until the end to change up the recipe. With my mind on all things pumpkin lately, I decided to try it with risotto. By my second test run of the combination, I knew I had found a huge winner.
The pumpkin gives a subtle earthy flavor to the risotto and makes it even creamier than usual, while the strong flavor of the parmesan balances out the sweetness of the dish. A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts really ties everything together nicely – I love their slightly soft texture and distinct flavor. The end result is a comforting, warming meal.
If you have never made risotto before, please do not be daunted. Really, all you need to make sure of is that you stir the risotto continuously (and the stirring only takes about 20 minutes). I recommend having all of your ingredients and measuring cups set out before beginning the recipe, as you will want to be focused on the stirring.
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 and ½ cups arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup vegetarian parmesan
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.
- In the meantime, add the olive oil and butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for about one minute; add garlic and cook about one minute longer.
- Add the arborio rice, stirring until it is coated in the olive oil and butter.
- Add the white wine and stir until absorbed.
- Add a ladle (about one cup) of the vegetable stock to the risotto, stirring continuously until the stock is absorbed. Add the next ladle of stock, repeating the process until all of the stock has been added.
- Once all of the stock is absorbed (about 18-20 minutes), stir in the pumpkin and parmesan.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.