Risotto with Pumpkin, Ginger, and Sage

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I’m always looking for ways to cook pumpkin in the fall when Halloween is all around—it always feels festive and comforting. If pumpkin season has passed, try using sweet potatoes or winter squash.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped leek (white part only)
3 cups peeled pumpkin or winter squash, cut in
1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
5 cups water or vegetable stock
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
11/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (recipe at right)

1. In large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and, when warm, add the leeks, pumpkin or squash, and ginger and sauté for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the water or stock in a pot and season with salt and pepper if needed; keep warm over a low flame.

3. In the sauté pan, stir in the sage and rice. Once the rice starts to become translucent, add the white wine and stir. Cook until the wine is all absorbed; then add the stock ladle by ladle, being sure the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle, and stirring frequently. Continue until the rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Add the butter and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the cheese.

5. Turn off the heat and let the risotto rest, uncovered, for 3 minutes before serving.

6. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (recipe follows).
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (shelled)
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch fine sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a bowl, toss the seeds, oil, and salt together. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool until crisp.

From What Chefs Feed Their Kids, by Fanae Aaron