Sunday, February 6, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Risotto

As winter drags on, the pumpkin pie spice really had our comfort mojo going. We wanted to do justice to this mixture of flavors, and since we made the sweet potato wedges with the spice, it got us thinking. What else could we make with this? As I spotted a leftover can of pumpkin pie filling, which was conveniently located right next to a bag of risotto, I thought--- hhhm, pumpkin risotto?! This dish sounds like it could be served up at a 5-star restaurant by your favorite celebrity chef, for $30 per person…. OR make it this way, and you’ll never know the difference. Cheap, easy, yet rich and delicious. And perfect for this “dead of the winter” time of year. Serve this on top of your favorite piece of meat to balance out the richness… or with a simple house salad to add a somewhat healthy twist to this carb-a-licious dinner.

OK--- now we must add that risotto is NOT impossible to make, despite popular belief. Yes, it requires a ton of stirring and watching and stirring and watching and adding water and broth and stirring & watching…. But this dish is actually easy to make!! Bobby Flay does not need to be present to get this job done, just try it out. Steps & illustrations below.

1 cup Arborio rice, risotto
½ large onion, chopped
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pumpkin puree (pumpkin pie filling)
¼ tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for topping

To begin, chop up ½ of a large white onion and 1 tbsp fresh ginger (if fresh ginger isn’t on hand, just add a teaspoon or two of ground ginger at this point). 
Add 1 tbsp olive oil or butter to a large sauté pan, heat on high, and add onion & garlic. 
After they have had a chance to get all nice & cozy, roughly 2 minutes, add the cup of uncooked risotto. Stir it up and let the ingredients fry up for a minute. 
Then, add 1 cup of dry white wine. Stir while the wine and alcohol cook out, roughly 2-5 minutes—or unti it stops sizzling. 

Then, add the first cup of vegetable broth. Again--- stir, and let the broth soak into the rice.
Give the rice a few minutes as you stir, and you can easily tell when the broth has been properly added & evaporates. 
Make sure the heat for the pan is on medium… too hot and you will burn the rice and the broth won’t get properly cooked, and too low and it will take you a million years to cook up your rice.
Add the second cup of broth, stir, and wait for it to soak in. 

Repeat the process for the third cup of broth.
Once the broth has been soaked up, the rice is cooked & ready to go! 
Now, add the cup of pumpkin puree for the final rich touch. We also added a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice for an extra hearty kick to the meal, but use this to your own discretion and palates. 
Let the ingredients sink in, and turn the heat off the pan. 
Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve with a nice heaping tablespoon of parmesan cheese to add the perfect salty bite to the extra decadent & sweet risotto flavor.

Post your risotto related questions & comments!! Stay tuned for some upcoming & rich treats for this Valentine’s Day week!

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