Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Risotto

pumpkin risotto II

Am I the only one who's been hoarding cans of pumpkin? I grab at least two cans every time I see in the store, which truthfully isn't as often as you'd think.

Last week I noticed my supply was starting to get a little out of control, and I knew just what I wanted to do with it.

Make pumpkin risotto, of course.

I found this recipe in the Columbus Dispatch, the local paper, eons ago. In fact, I can't even find it online anymore. I can't even remember if it's something original to them or from a syndicated story. All I know is that it's one of my favorite risotto recipes that I make over and over again.

Pumpkin risotto was one of the first times I've ever used canned pumpkin in a savory dish, and I've been hooked ever since.

What I love most about this recipe — and how it differs from other pumpkin risotto recipes I've seen — is that it uses pumpkin puree rather than chunks of fresh pumpkin.

The puree helps the risotto stay super creamy, which allows you to cut back on cheese and butter if you so choose. The recipe isn't necessarily a light one, but it can easily be made into one.

I usually use half the oil, leave out the butter and go a little lighter on the cheese. But this time I went all out. Maybe it' s cooler (again) temps or the insane tiredness I'm feeling after my cat woke me up at 4:30 a.m. I was craving something just a bit richer.

It didn't disappoint.

Pumpkin risotto

Pumpkin Risotto
Adapted from the Columbus Dispatch

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put the broth in a small saucepan bring to a simmer, then knock the heat back to medium low to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened — about 6 minutes.

Add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil. Bump the heat up to medium high and add the wine. Stir constantly until the wine is absorbed.

Then, add broth 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring constantly and adding more broth as it's absorbed. Once the rice has absorbed all the broth, reduce the heat to medium low and check the rice's texture. It should be firm, but cooked through. If the rice isn't done, add more broth 1/2 cup at time until it reaches the desired texture. It usually takes me about 15 to 20 minutes from the time I begin adding the broth.

Then, stir in the pumpkin, ginger, cayenne. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Then, stir in butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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