Pumpkin Risotto Recipe | Risotto alla Zucca

Pumpkin risotto is a creamy, savory dish made with rice, pumpkin, broth, and various seasonings. It’s a popular Northern Italian dish, especially in the regions where pumpkins are abundant during the fall season.

The starchy rice and creamy texture of the pumpkin combine to create a luxurious mouthfeel, while the natural sweetness of the pumpkin contrasts beautifully with the savory ingredients.

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Pumpkin risotto is a popular recipe from Northern Italy, where both rice and delicious pumpkins are produced.

We recommend using sweet and creamy pumpkins like butternut squash or cabocha, very sweet with a nutty flavor, great for creating fabulous pumpkin recipes like pumpkin ravioli or pumpkin gnocchi.

Creamy, fragrant, with a delicate but at the same time exquisite flavor, pumpkin risotto is that comfort food that is ready in 30 minutes and makes the whole family happy!

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  • Prep Time: 15 Min
  • Cook Time: 30 Min
  • Servings: 4/6

  • 450 g (16 oz) of pumpkin pulp (butternut squash or cabocha)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1.5 liters (about 6 cups) of vegetable broth
  • 400 g (2 cups) of Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 80 g (3/4 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 120 g (1 1/3 cups) grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of ground black pepper (optional)
  • a pinch of salt to taste

Pumpkin Risotto Recipe: Instructions

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Step 1) – First start with the pumpkin so remove the seeds and skin and cut it into small pieces.

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Step 2) – Then cut the onion and place it in a stainless steel pan with the oil and half the butter. Let it sautè over low heat for about 5 minutes.

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Step 3) – Now add the pieces of pumpkin and a little of hot vegetable stock.

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Step 4) – Let cook covered with the lid for about 10 minutes until the pumpkin starts to become soft. When the pumpkin has absorbed almost all of the broth and you see that the onion and pumpkin have become a cream, add the rice.

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Step 5) – Mix well and then add the hot vegetable broth, very little at a time stirring constantly. Then let it cook; it will take about 15 minutes. Add a little fine salt according to your taste.

Finally turn off the heat and add the Parmigiano cheese and the remaining butter. Mix to make the pumpkin risotto creamy. If you like, add some freshly ground black pepper. Serve pumpkin risotto immediately, hot and creamy.

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Keep the pumpkin risotto in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, closed in an airtight container.

What Kind of Pumpkin is Best for Pumpkin Risotto?

For pumpkin risotto, it’s ideal to use a variety of pumpkin with dense, sweet, and non-stringy flesh. We used a type of pumpkin that is popular in northern Italy: Mantuan Pumpkin. Here are some of the best pumpkin and squash varieties for cooking risotto:

  • KABOCHA SQUASH: Known as the Japanese pumpkin, kabocha has a sweet, nutty flavor and a smooth, velvety texture that is perfect for risotto.
  • BUTTERNUT SQUASH: While not a pumpkin, butternut squash’s sweet and creamy flesh makes it a great alternative to pumpkin risotto. Its smooth texture and inherent sweetness can complement the creamy nature of risotto.
  • SUGAR PIE SQUASH (OR PIE PUMPKIN): This is a small, round pumpkin that’s perfect for cooking and baking. Its flesh is sweet and less watery than larger pumpkins.
  • RED KURI SQUASH (HOKKAIDO PUMPKIN): This is a teardrop-shaped, bright orange pumpkin. Its chestnut-like flavor and creamy texture make it another good choice.

When making pumpkin risotto, remember to peel and seed the pumpkin, then dice it into small, even pieces. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and blends well with the rice.

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Which Rice should I use to Make Risotto?

To make risotto, you should use short or medium grain rice varieties that have a high starch content. This starch is released during the slow cooking process and gives risotto its characteristic creamy consistency. Here are the most common varieties:

  • ARBORIO: The most common and widely used risotto rice. It has a relatively large grain and can absorb a lot of liquid without losing its structure.
  • CARNAROLI: Often called the “king of risotto rices,” Carnaroli is favored by many chefs because it has a higher starch content than Arborio, which makes for an even creamier risotto. It’s also less prone to overcooking. This is the one we use.

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How to Serve Pumpkin Risotto: Some Variations

  • CHEESE: Pumpkin risotto can be served with your favorite cheese: we have suggested grated Parmigiano, but you can also use taleggio, mascarpone or gorgonzola for a stronger taste. The result will always be a success, because you will get an incredibly creamy and velvety texture.
  • PAPRIKA: If you like spicy flavors, pumpkin risotto goes very well even with sweet paprika that you can sprinkle on hot risotto before serving.
  • ROSEMARY: Finally, rosemary is also often paired with dishes with pumpkin and therefore also with risotto. You can add a sprig of rosemary while the pumpkin is cooking and remove it before adding the rice.
  • BACON: Just cut the bacon into thin strips and fry them in a frying pan for a few minutes. When the risotto is ready, sprinkle them on top and serve.
  • SAUSAGE: Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble it coarsely with your hands, then brown it in the risotto pan together with the chopped onion. Add the rice and blend with a bit of white wine. Add the pumpkin pulp and continue as we have explained, gradually pouring a ladle of hot broth till the rice is cooked.
  • MUSHROOMS: Try the version with mushrooms, really perfect for the fall season. Just sautè the pumpkin pulp with the onions in a little oil and then reduce to cream with an immersion blender. Make a mushrooms risotto following our recipe and then, halfway through cooking, add the sweet pumpkin cream. You will discover a tasty fragrant and incredibly soft dish.

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