The heat is starting to abate here in Texas.  With the cooler temperatures comes the desire to put away the grill and start cooking Fall-inspired food.  When I think of Autumn, I think of pumpkins.  And how can I not, they’re everywhere.  Pumpkin patches are starting to pop up, pumpkin flavored lattes are served at the coffee shop along with pumpkin muffins, and my wife already baked up chocolate pumpkin brownies.  Pumpkin is often used for sweeter preparations and baked goods, but it can also be used in savory dishes too.  The flavor of the pumpkin in this risotto is more subtle than you’d expect.  For time and convenience I use canned product.  If you had some extra time, or ambition, you might consider using fresh pumpkin.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Risotto 2

If you’ve never made risotto before don’t be intimidated.  It’s not difficult but does require tending.  There are a few things to keep in mind though.  First, don’t overcook it.  The rice should be cooked but still firm, similar to al dente when cooking pasta. Next, stirring helps release the starch from the rice which makes the risotto creamy.  If you don’t stir you’ll simply end of up with cooked rice.  Adding the liquid in small quantities is also important to releasing starch.  Although the final consistency can be a matter of preference, risotto shouldn’t be too thick or too thin.  Add the majority of salt towards the end of cooking.  Both broth and parmesan cheese can be salty, so you may not need to add much.  Lastly, don’t let your risotto sit.  You just worked hard stirring that pot for 25 minutes.  It would be a pity to delay eating it and have it thicken up on you.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Risotto 1

Author: David Moser
Recipe type: Main Course
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup onion grated (one medium)
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) arborio rice
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 medium gala apple pealed and cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds toasted
  • 8 sage leaves chopped
Heat the vegetable broth
  1. Heat the broth in a saucepan until hot and turn the heat to low to keep warm.
Brown the butter
  1. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to a separate large saucepan and cook over medium heat until it begins to froth and turns brown, about two minutes. Set the butter aside and rinse the pot.
Cook the risotto
  1. Return the saucepan to the burner and melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent but not browned, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice to the onions. Stir and cook until the edges of the rice are translucent, another 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the wine, cooking until absorbed.
  4. Add enough broth to cover the rice. Stir continuously adding broth by the laddle full each time the liquid is almost fully absorbed. Continue this process for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is cooked but still has a slight chew. There may left over broth.
  5. Add the pumpkin, brown butter, cheese, apples and nutmeg. Stir unil combined. Turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Add additional broth if too thick.
  6. Plate and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and sage to taste.
  7. Serve immediately.