Falling for Risotto, Again

maple pumpkin risotto

who’s up for a round of squash?

Guys, I think I have another food obsession. Everyone (everyone who regularly reads this blog, that is) knows that I’m obsessed with chicken. And eggs. Duh.

But after searching through my recipes, there are a lot that involve squash. Zucchini. Butternut. Acorn. And like this risotto, pumpkin. If you asked me when I was a kid – heck, if you asked me 5 years ago – I would have said that I didn’t like squash in any form. It was squishy and gross and bland. Oh, how naive I was. Squash is nothing like that. It’s sweet and rich and earthy. And crazy versatile.

Which brings me to pumpkin. Most people are used to seeing squashes in all kind of dishes this time of year, but pumpkin still seems to be something we just carve up or bake into a pie. Seasonal lattes aside, there’s more to pumpkin than just that. And risotto, with it’s creamy, fluffy rice, is the perfect base for this autumnal flavor. And please don’t get put off by the somewhat laborious process of making risotto. It’s worth it in the end, I promise. Would this squash fanatic lie to you?

Maple Pumpkin Risotto
2 cups of apple juice or cider
3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 ½ cups of diced leeks
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 cups of Arborio rice
1 cup of white wine
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
3 tablespoon of maple syrup
2 tablespoon of grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Salt & pepper
4 slices of maple-glazed bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, combine the apple juice and stock and warm over low heat.

Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft and slightly caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and wine, and cook until the wine has been absorbed.

Next, add ½ cup of the juice/broth mixture to the rice and stir frequently. When fully absorbed, add another ½ cup of the mixture. Repeat this process until all of the juice/broth mixture has been absorbed into the rice, or until the rice is al dente. The rice should nearly double in size, so use that as a gauge, too.

Stir in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Plate, garnish with extra Parmesan (and bacon), and eat.

(*Also, I realize putting maple-glazed bacon on this doesn’t make it meatless. But I’m not saying you HAVE to put it on there. But I am telling you it tastes pretty good if you do.)


15 Comments on “Falling for Risotto, Again”

  1. I want this right now! This looks fantastic and I love how you put bacon on top. I love making risotto even though it requires your undivided attention when cooking it. I enjoy the process and especially the results. Love how you used pumpkin, I usually reach for butternut squash. Next time I make it I’ll use pumpkin.

    • egg me on says:

      Thanks! Some people don’t like that I put bacon on it, but the salty porky maple-y flavor is a great addition. I’ve made it with roasted butternut squash before too. It’s good both ways.

  2. Lazy Suzan says:

    Yum, this sounds great right now! Nice use of pumpkin, I will have to try it.

  3. Ani says:

    Ooh I never thought of using apple cider in risotto! I just had red pepper risotto last night – perfect fall meal!

  4. Rita Godfrey says:

    I love squash risotto and this looks like a gerat version.

  5. The first time we made pumpkin risotto it was a fail. The second time we were hooked. This looks really addictive.

  6. Conor Bofin says:

    I love the addition of nutmeg Tommy.

  7. misha says:

    this recipe looks like it has an awesome balance of nutty, fruit, spicy, and creamy flavors. parmesan? bacon? white wine? apple juice? you devil, you.

    honestly, i’m a pumpkin-seasoned food hater. i just get sick of it after a while, and it seems a little gimicky most of the time. this, however, does not. it seems original, tasty, and beautiful. good work, bud. if i get my hands on some arborio rice in the near future, it is on like donkey kong.

  8. Caroline says:

    OMG YUM!!! Sounds incredible, I definitely need to make this soon. I looove risotto.

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