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Pumpkin risotto is perfect for fall! Cook it up with sage and Parmesan and it’s a cozy autumn dinner or side dish.

Pumpkin Risotto
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Want to welcome fall in style? Cook up a pot of pumpkin risotto! Its bright orange color and autumnal flavor makes it the ideal dinner or side dish for the season. Homemade risotto is easy to whip up: all you need are a few ingredients and a bit of time to stir in that luxurious broth until it all becomes absorbed by the rice. Grab a glass of wine and let’s get cooking!

Ingredients in pumpkin risotto

Risotto is an Italian rice dish where short grain Arborio rice is cooked in broth until it becomes creamy. Most methods use butter, onion, and garlic, white wine to deglaze the pan, and Parmesan cheese to finish. Using canned pumpkin adds a bright orange color and autumnal flavor, paired with fresh and dried sage. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this pumpkin risotto recipe:

  • Arborio rice
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Vegetable or chicken broth
  • White wine
  • Onion and garlic
  • Butter and olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh and dried sage
Pumpkin Risotto

Notes on arborio rice

Arborio rice is a type of short grain Italian rice that is used to make risotto and other dishes like rice pudding and arancini. This type of rice absorbs the liquid as it cooks, naturally creating a creamy and thickened texture.

Do not substitute another variety of rice in this risotto recipe. The recipe does not work with something like long grain rice. Arborio rice is easy to find at your local grocery, so make sure to find the real thing!

On cooking with wine

Risotto is classically made with white wine to deglaze the pan, so this pumpkin risotto uses white wine too. Most of the alcohol is cooked out in the cooking process, so it should be suitable for children and pregnant mothers.

However if you prefer (or simply don’t want to crack open a bottle), you can skip the wine and it will still taste great. If you do choose to use it, make sure to pour yourself a glass while cooking!

Pumpkin Risotto

Tips for making pumpkin risotto

Making a risotto is simple, but it does require a little know-how to get the best result. Here are our top tips for making this pumpkin risotto:

  • Heat the broth. The rice immediately absorbs broth if it’s hot, but if the broth is cold it changes the temperature of the dish and affects the cooking process. You’ll want a few ladles of warm broth at a time.
  • Stir in broth gradually: be patient! Add a few ladles, then keep stirring to incorporate the broth. As soon as it’s absorbed, add more. Continue in this way for about 12 minutes.
  • Adjust the heat as necessary to keep a steady simmer. If the heat is too high, it can burn or not cook through. If the heat is too low, the rice grains can get waterlogged.
  • It’s ready when it’s tender but slightly al dente. The grains of rice should be slightly al dente (to have a bite of chew in the center) and stay separate from each other as they float in the thickened broth.

Leftovers and make ahead info

Here’s one thing to note: this pumpkin risotto is best served immediately. You can try making it in advance or storing leftovers, but the texture becomes compromised. Here are a few notes on storage:

  • The rice texture will become thick as it sits, especially when it’s chilled.
  • If desired, you can reheat on the stovetop and add a little extra broth and Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches salt to taste.
  • We don’t recommend making this recipe in advance, but if you want to try, undercook the risotto slightly at first, then reheat and finish it off with the final few scoops of broth before serving.  
Pumpkin Risotto

Ways to serve pumpkin risotto

You can serve pumpkin risotto as a side dish, or make it a main dish by adding a protein source and some sides with fiber. If you’re making it into a fall dinner, make sure to add a protein because risotto in itself is not filling enough for a meal. Here are a few ideas for how to serve it:

Pumpkin Risotto

More pumpkin recipes

When it’s the season for pumpkin, it’s time for all the pumpkin recipes! Here are a few favorites to try:

This pumpkin risotto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

Pumpkin risotto is perfect for fall! Cook it up with sage and Parmesan and it’s a cozy autumn dinner or side dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup minced sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, sliced into 4 pieces
  • 2 cups dry white arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay*
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (optional but recommended)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Mince the onion and garlic.
  2. Heat the broth: Combine the broth, pumpkin puree, and dried sage with 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan and bring it to a low simmer. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Sauté the vegetables: In a large skillet, place the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Heat for a few minutes until it melts, turns foamy, and then starts to become golden brown in color and smells nutty. Add the minced onion cook for about 2 minutes until tender and fragrant. Add the garlic and dry rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until the rice starts to turn light brown.
  4. Add the wine: Stir in the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the broth: Add two ladles of the hot broth to the risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add two more ladles of both. Cook in this same manner for about 12 minutes, adding two ladles and stirring frequently. Continue to adjust the heat to make sure the risotto is at a steady simmer. After 12 minutes, taste a grain of rice. If it’s creamy but still al dente in the center, you’re ready for the final step! If not, continue to cook and add broth for a few minutes more. Try not to go past al dente or the final risotto will be too soggy. (You’ll have some broth left over: save it for reheating leftovers.) 
  6. Finish the risotto: When the rice is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add two more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese, fresh sage, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto.
  7. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese to top. You’ll have about 1 ½ cups broth remaining; save it to stir in to get a creamier texture when serving (the rice absorbs liquid as it sits) or to refresh leftovers.  
  8. Storage info: The flavor and texture are best served immediately. If desired, you can reheat on the stovetop and add a little extra broth and Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches salt to taste. We don’t recommend making it in advance, but if you want to try, undercook the risotto slightly at first, then reheat and finish it off with the final few scoops of broth before serving.  

Notes

*If you prefer avoiding wine, you can skip Step 4 and move straight to adding the broth.

  • Category: Rice
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sabrina says:

    a very nice use of pumpkin, and a creative risotto, thank you!