Happy First day of October!
When fall comes around, while everyone else is looking forward to pumpkin spice lattes and chunky sweaters, I am usually mourning the end of my beloved summer. But this year, I am actually pretty excited about the changing leaves and crisp weather. Maybe because we are living somewhere with 4 distinct seasons? Anyway, I’m completely embracing the fall and incorporating pumpkin and squash into everything I possibly can.
Starting with this delicious pumpkin risotto. Made with beautiful, organic Hokkaido pumpkin, deliciously fresh sage, crispy pancetta, toasted pine nuts, and freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese.
Almost every local restaurant here in Austria has at least a few kurbis (pumpkin) specialties on the menu right now. This risotto is a combination of a few of my favorites.
It is the perfect dish to serve to company, because it looks like you spent hours in the kitchen. But in reality you can have it completely done in about 40 minutes. It is also a great meal for baby, just chop the pumpkin smaller and omit the pancetta and pine nuts.
You will need:
- 1 organic Hokkaido pumpkin
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- thinly sliced pancetta
- 3 Tablespoons of pine nuts, lightly toasted
- Large bunch of fresh sage, chopped
- freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
- chicken or vegetable broth
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup good white wine, plus more to serve
- salt & pepper
- Thoroughly wash the pumpkin, then cut it in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Chop the pumpkin, skin and all, into 1/2 inch chunks.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy bottom pot. Add diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and pumkin, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the arborio rice and sauté for a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
- Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, to the risotto, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has been absorbed.
- In a separate pan, fry the thinly sliced pancetta until crispy. Remove pancetta from pan, but do not remove the fat. Fry the chopped fresh sage in the pancetta fat until crispy.
- Serve the risotto, topped with the crispy pancetta, sage, pine nuts, and freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese.
I love Hokkaido pumpkin because it is so easy! The hard exterior softens up beautifully after cooking, so you don’t have to remove anything but the stem and the seeds. The rest can be chopped up and cooked. It is delicious in risotto, but equally good roasted and served with chopped sage as a side dish.