Luxuriously soft with earthy flavors, pumpkin risotto is a fall side dish that deserves to be on every kitchen table, especially yours.
This risotto with pumpkin has sweet, slightly nutty flavors that pair perfectly with the umami of the sauteed mushrooms and the saltiness of the Parmesan cheese. It may look hard to make but you'll find it doesn't take a master chef to achieve its velvety smoothness.
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Fall Comfort Food
When you're looking for something that combines all your favorite things about fall comfort food into one dish, this pumpkin risotto recipe is it! It will warm you up from the inside out, with bold red onion, earthy mushrooms, spicy nutmeg, nutty parmesan cheese, and briny vegetable broth.
There are so many wonderful ways to use pumpkin too - both sweet and savory. You can never go wrong with a hot bowl of pumpkin squash soup, a breakfast spread of pumpkin butter, or a snack of rich pumpkin cheesecake brownies.
This creamy pumpkin risotto will definitely become a family favorite. The vibrant mingling of flavors can be served with almost any meal and would be the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving feast. This fall in a pan is not to be missed!
- White Button Mushrooms - lend a milk flavor. You can also use Shitake or Portobello mushrooms.
- Red Onion - lends a sweet flavor once cooked. Yellow or white onions are also an option.
- Rice - carnaroli is the best rice to use but arborio is a great option as well.
- Vegetable Stock - canned or fresh will both work. Make sure it is room temperature or slightly warmed before adding.
- Pumpkin Puree - fresh or canned will work perfectly.
- Nutmeg - brings a warm, fall flavor to the dish.
- Black Pepper
- Parmesan cheese - adds a sharp tang and a bit of creaminess.
Best Rice to Use for Risotto
Carnaroli is the best rice to use. It is known as the king of risotto rice. This rice will give you the creamiest risotto but it is the more expensive option.
Arborio is also a great option. Arborio rice is longer and not so starchy. It makes a thicker, softer risotto that is equally as good.
How to Make Pumpkin Risotto
- Heat a frying pan on high heat for about 2 minutes then add mushrooms. Brown each side for about 1 minute. Remove from pan.
- Lower heat to medium, add a little olive oil to pan, and saute onions for about 3 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium low and add rice to the onions. Toss until rice becomes a light golden color.
- Pour a little of the broth into the frying pan, enough to cover the rice. Toss the rice to prevent sticking to the bottom. Continue to add broth as it is absorbed by rice. Note.- Be careful not to overcook the rice; otherwise, it will dry out or burn.
- Add the pumpkin puree, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir.
- Add Parmesan cheese and toss until it gets creamy.
- Transfer the pumpkin risotto to a serving bowl and top with sauteed mushrooms, fresh parsley, and more grated Parmesan cheese.
Now take a bite. You won't believe how creamy and ultra-flavorful this risotto is. It's the perfect side for fall dinners and your Thanksgiving table.
Risotto is versatile and you can add to or change the ingredients to suit your taste and diet preferences. Here are some ideas:
Cheese, Herb, and Vegetable Substitutions
- Pumpkin Goat Cheese Risotto - substitute parmesan with goat cheese crumbles.
- Pumpkin Sage Risotto - add 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped sage at the same time you add the rice to the pan.
- Pumpkin & Spinach Risotto - add 1 cup of fresh spinach at the same time you add the pumpkin puree to the cooked rice.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Bacon - Cook ⅓ pound of bacon until crispy, drain, and chop into pieces. Wipe out the pan and prepare the recipe as instructed. Stir in the bacon or sprinkle it on top just before serving.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Chicken or Turkey - A great way to use leftover chicken or turkey! Use chicken stock instead of vegetable broth. Stir in 1 to 2 cups of cooked chicken or turkey before serving.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Scallops - In a separate pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Season sea scallops with salt and pepper. Cook the scallops for 3 minutes on each side. When you serve the risotto, place the scallops on top.
- Pumpkin Risotto with Shrimp - Add ½ pound of peeled and deveined medium shrimp 5 minutes before the rice has finished cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
This helps keep the rice consistency compact and prevent it from breaking.
Risotto is best served immediately. It becomes mushy over time and reheating will overcook the rice.
What to Serve with Pumpkin Risotto
Do you wonder what goes with pumpkin risotto? Well, it pairs beautifully with chicken, turkey, and seafood. You can also serve it as a meatless meal with bread and a simple green salad. Here are some of my favorite dishes to enjoy with it:
- Baked or Rotisserie Chicken
- Grilled Shrimp
- Honey Roasted Turkey Breast
- Pan Seared Scallops
- Rosemary Skillet Bread
How to Store
Storing: This risotto is best served fresh as the texture changes as it sits. However, if you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing is not recommended.
More Fall Side Dishes
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a dish of spiral butternut squash covered with a cheesy sauce. It's the perfect fall comfort food.
- Cinnamon Apples are warm, tender, and full of cinnamon flavor.
- Grilled Acorn Squash is sweet, smoky, and delicious. An ideal side for the holidays when garnished with pomegranate arils.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with cranberries from Cooking with Curls
- Sweet Potato Puffs are baked with a surprise inside. Perfect for a Thanksgiving table.
Find the best fall recipes here on 2CM!
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- 9-10 white button mushrooms sliced (about 2 ½ cups)
- ½ medium red onion diced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 34 ounces vegetable stock about 4-¼ cups
- 1 can pumpkin puree for creamier risottos use up to 1-½ cans
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup Parmesan, grated
- Garnish: parsley
- Place a frying pan on high heat for about 2 minutes.
- Place sliced mushrooms in pan and fry until golden brown on each side. It usually takes about 1 minute per side. Set aside.
- Remove onions from fry pan.
- Lower heat to medium and add a little olive oil to frying pan. Add onions and fry for about 3 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium low and add rice. Toss until rice becomes a light golden color.
- Pour a little of the broth into the frying pan, enough to cover the rice. Toss the rice to prevent sticking to the bottom.
- When the broth begins to be absorbed by the rice, pour more of the broth over the rice. Repeat until the rice softens enough but right before desired consistency.
- Note.- Be careful not to overcook the rice; otherwise, it will dry out or burn.
- Add the pumpkin puree, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Toss until it gets creamy.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with sauteed mushrooms, fresh parsley, and more grated Parmesan cheese.
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