By Sarah Crowder
My defaults for pumpkin are either soup or pie, but this year I’ve been tucking in fresh pumpkin puree anywhere I can – oatmeal, mac and cheese, and, most recently, risotto.
Here, the pumpkin adds a subtle sweetness and complementary creaminess to risotto, while fried sage and pumpkin seeds toasted with fennel seed add another dimension of flavor and texture.
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 c arborio rice
1/2 c sweet vermouth
2 heaping c pumpkin puree
1/2 c grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
roasted pumpkin seeds and fried sage, to garnish
Add the broth to a medium pot over high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low to keep broth warm.
Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent. Add the rice and saute another two minutes. Stir in the vermouth.
Add a ladle full of broth to the rice. Stir often and continue adding broth as the rice absorbs each addition until the mixture is creamy and the rice is cooked but still a bit firm (al dente).
Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheese and butter until incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
seeds from one pie pumpkin
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse the pumpkin seeds, then thoroughly pat dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
Add the pumpkin seeds to a baking sheet, sprinkle with the brown sugar, fennel seed, and salt and toss to combine. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and move to the oven.
Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the sugar melts and the seeds begin to brown at the edges, stirring once halfway through.
12 or more sage leaves
Coat the bottom of a small saucepan over medium heat with 1/4-inch of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sage leaves, about half at a time, and fry until deep green and crispy, about 1 minute. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to move the leave to a plate and immediately sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.