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Pumpkin Risotto
From the autumn kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

1 small pumpkin (or large acorn squash)
6 cans of vegetable  broth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pure maple syrup, to taste
1/2 cup pecans, grated
Several whole pecans for garnish
Fresh thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the squash in half.  With a spoon clean out the seeds and stringy parts.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  When cooked scoop pulp out of shells and puree.  Set aside.  You may also toast the seeds if you wish.

In a soup kettle, bring the broth to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat.   Add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes or until the onion is softened.

Add the rice and stir for an additional 4 minutes or until each grain is well coated with oil and is translucent with a white dot in the center.   Add the white wine and stir constantly until it is totally absorbed.  Add the grated ginger.

Add the simmering stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly after each addition.   Wait until the broth is completely absorbed, but never allow the rice to become dry on top.   Continue adding the broth for about 20 minutes.   Reserve 1/4 cup of the broth to add at the end. 

When the rice is al dente (almost tender to the bite, but slightly firm in the center) and looks creamy, add the pumpkin puree and stir well.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, the reserved broth, the maple syrup, and the thyme.  Dust with the grated pecans.   Serve immediately on warmed plates with a whole pecan on top each serving.


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