This pumpkin risotto recipe uses two different textures of butternut squash. Taking advantage of both the sweet creaminess of pumpkin as well as firmer chunks. With fresh ginger, a pinch of cinnamon and chili flakes, this risotto recipe has a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavor!
1medium butternut squash(about 1,5 kg)
2 1/2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil,separated
1/2cupwater(plus more if needed)
4large garlic clove,sliced thinly
1tablespoonpeeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2cupdry white wine
30gfreshly grated parmesan(about 3 tablespoons)
3-4tablespoonschopped fresh chives
chopped fresh chives
freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Peel one half and cut into small 1 cm diced cubes. Transfer to the baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Put the remaining half, cut side down, in a shallow baking dish coated with a little oil with diced squash. Bake the half squash in the top of oven. Bake the cubed squash in middle of oven, stirring diced squash halfway through, until tender and browned lightly, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside. Check the half squash for doneness. The skin should be lightly browned and flesh firm but not raw. If needed, bake for 5 more minutes. The remaining cooking will take place after adding it to the rice.
Holding the halved squash in a kitchen towel, scoop out flesh (or peel away the skin) and coarsely chop into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the broth and water to a simmer, reduce heat and keep at a very low simmer.
In a large non-stick saucepan (I like to use a wokpfanne) heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened. About 5 minutes.
Stir in the rice and cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed.
Stir in about 60 ml (1 small ladle full) broth and cook, stirring constantly, and keeping at a simmer throughout, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, one ladle full at at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until about HALF the broth has been used.
Stir in the squash (both diced and chopped), plus the cinnamon, plus a pinch of chili flakes. Stir and continue simmering and adding broth in same manner as before, until the rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 20 minutes. The tender diced pumpkin will become very creamy and incorporate with the rice, whereas the chopped pumpkin will keep it's form.
Finally, stir in the butter, parmesan and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Spoon risotto into serving bowls and garnish with chives and parmesan. Serve and enjoy!
It's a good idea to undercook the halved squash initially, letting its final cooking take place after adding it to the rice. This way we have some firmer chunks of pumpkin with the tender creamed pumpkin. The difference in textures makes it more interesting to eat as well as look at.
To save time, I usually start cooking the risotto while the squash is still in the oven. Which when I am quick, gets this on the table in 45 minutes. If you want a more relaxed approach to cooking this dish, then plan for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Feel free to add a an extra pinch of chili peppers or a drizzle of truffle oil to spiffy it up! Enjoy!
Make it vegan: Starchy rice accounts for most of this risotto’s creaminess, so you can replace the butter with vegan butter and also skip the Parmesan cheese and add some nutritional yeast for cheesy umami-rich flavour.
A note on parmesan: yes, Parmesan Reggiano is not vegetarian but actually there are some great animal rennet-free parmesan on the market. Check your local organic food store.