pumpkin risotto

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Everyone’s goal for their food blog is different. Are you keeping a log of recipes you make for your own sake – to store them somewhere, or to track your progress as a cook? Do you only publish recipes that you recommend others make? Do you have a blog just to cook along with various groups? All are perfectly fine reasons to maintain a food blog.

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Periodically I have to ask myself what my stance is. The question only comes up when I make something that I’d like to share, even though it wasn’t necessarily my favorite dish ever. And I think I’ve decided that, for me, my food blog is somewhere I get to talk about cooking to people who are also interested in food. Basically it’s to offload my food thoughts to people who actually care, saving my friends and family from hearing about cooking nonstop. Not that the topic doesn’t still come up…let’s just say, periodically.

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So, let us discuss, then, this risotto. I’ve made risotto plenty of times before, but usually following the same basic recipe and just adding in whatever extra ingredient I wanted (peppers, peas, greens, etc). This time I decided to follow a different recipe.

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You probably know the basic risotto process – sauté onions and garlic, add the rice, then the wine, then the chicken broth, gradually, and ending with parmesan cheese. This recipe is a bit different. It starts with substantially more butter than I would normally use, in which the onion (supposed to be leeks, but I always forget to buy them) and pumpkin are sautéed. Then the rice is stirred in, like normal, but next is the chicken broth instead of the wine. The broth and wine are added alternately as the rice cooks. Mascarpone is stirred in at the end along with the parmesan.

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It was quite a bit winier than I’m used to risotto tasting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was also quite a bit cheesier, which I suppose should have been a no-brainer with all the mascarpone, but somehow I was expecting it to add richness without the cheesy flavor.

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Overall, it was…fine. Good? Not necessarily great. I just like my regular risotto better. Some foods are already rich enough that you don’t really need to add twice the butter and a dollop of the creamiest cheese ever. So maybe I don’t strongly recommend this recipe, but I thought it was interesting, and when it comes to choosing recipes to blog about, I guess interesting (to me, and if I’m lucky, to you) is what I’m most concerned with.

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One year ago: Mulled Cider

Printer Friendly Recipe
Pumpkin Risotto
(copied with no changes from Cucina Italiana April 2001)

3.5 cups chicken broth
1 small pumpkin (about ½ pound)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup Mascarpone
⅓ cup (.67 ounce) grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1. Heat broth in a small pan and keep it hot. Cut off the pumpkin stem. With a vegetable peeler, remove the skin. Cut the pumpkin in half, and remove and discard the seeds and stringy flesh. Dice enough of the pumpkin to make 1 cup. (Save any remaining pumpkin for another use; soup is a particularly good possibility.)

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the pumpkin and leek, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat it with the butter. Cook, stirring, until the rice begins to crackle, about 5 minutes; do not let the rice brown.

3. Slowly add ½ cup of the broth and stir constantly until the rice absorbs all the liquid; add 2 tablespoons of the wine and continue stirring until it is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding broth and wine alternately to the rice, stirring all the while, until the rice is al dente and has a creamy consistency, about 15 minutes.

4. Stir in the Mascarpone and Parmigiano, blending well and stirring until the Mascarpone melts. Serve immediately.


  1. The one thing I know about creating my blog is I am inspired to cook and bake more and try new or challenging recipes. I love risotto and this looks wonderful!

  2. I always feel ambivalent when I try a new recipe for something I’ve made successfully many times before- should I really be putting that much milk? isn’t that going to change the level of sweetness? Occasionally I’ll find a recipe I do end up liking more than my stand-by but most of the time I just feel like it didn’t measure up! You should try adding pumpkin to your old risotto recipe- because pumpkin risotto (in theory) sounds fabulous!

  3. It definitely LOOKS good, but not sure I would love it either. Even though I seem to be addicted to all things pumpkin right now. But, I’m blaming that on the pregnancy. 🙂

  4. It looks and sounds really wonderful! I’ve never tried pumpkin risotto but it’s on my list to make this winter. I’m with you on posting recipes to my blog – I don’t always love everything I post, but if I think someone else might, that’s enough for me 🙂

  5. I love love love pumpkin and I love love love love love risotto. I will definitely make your recipe !

  6. The risotto looks delicious, but it’s interesting to hear your thoughts on how it differs from your regular recipe (just like my regular recipe) and why you didn’t like this one as much. I always hesitate to post recipes I’ve tried that I haven’t loved…I guess I only want to remember the things that I have!

  7. Pumpkin risotto is a new one for me. I think it has potential but I have to try it to know. I guess that means, I have to make it. Thanks for providing the recipe.

  8. Oh this looks delicious! I love seeing savory pumpkin recipes! I would not have thought of marscapone as the main cheese in this risotto, but I can see it going well. I think I would like doubling the butter too…maybe I should give this a try 🙂

  9. Oh yum! It looks gorgeous and I can almost smell the pumpkin!