Fall is right around the corner and while that means the end of beach days, the end of swimming outdoors, the end of long sunny evenings, it also means the beginning of fall traditions, including those involving warm, filling comfort food.
If you like you like the savory-sweet taste of pumpkin, this recipe is perfect. Risotto alla zucca, pumpkin risotto, is a typical dish in the Lombardy region. If you’re already an expert risotto chef, this will be an easy upgrade to the traditional risotto giallo, which uses just saffron as a flavoring. If not, the instructions below will walk you through the basic steps for making a risotto, with the addition of tasty pumpkin and nutmeg.
This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free and can even be made vegan (just get rid of the butter altogether and use a cheese substitute instead of the cheese). Whether you make the vegetarian or vegan version, we’re sure you’ll like it as much as we do!
Risotto alla zucca, serves 4
- 1 small Mantovana or Delica pumpkin (c. 700g)
- 1 small onion (c. 150g)
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp butter
- 350g Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 700ml broth
- 2-3tsp nutmeg
- 80g grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
- Salt (to taste)
- Cook the pumpkin. It can either boiled by cutting it up (after removing the rind and seeds), but a tastier way of cooking the pumpkin is to roast it. Do this by carefully cutting it in half, removing the seeds and baking in a pan at 200°C for about 30-40 minutes, until the pulp is soft. Let cool, spoon out pulp and discard the rind.
- Dice the onion. Saute onion in the olive oil and butter until transparent, then add the pumpkin. Cook for about 5 more minutes, then remove from the pan.
- Heat the broth in a separate pan. Add the rice to the original pan and “toast” it by cooking on high, stirring often. Then add the white wine. Turn down the heat. Begin adding the broth as the rice cooks.
- After about 15 minutes (or halfway through the rice’s cooking time depending on the variety used) add the onion and pumpkin mixture. Continue adding broth until the rice is al dente (more or less broth may be needed to cook the rice). Remove from heat.
- Add the nutmeg to taste, the grated cheese and any additional salt if necessary. Buon apetito!