It’s officially fall (unofficially here in Texas where temps are still resting in the 90s) and it seems as if overnight, everyone has switched over from Summer vibes to Fall feelings! Pumpkin Spice… everything is out, Hallmark is gearing up for their scheduled run of original Christmas movies, and funky-looking squash can be found in all the local supermarkets and I am here for all of it! If the weather would just chill out already… See what I did there?
To celebrate, I knew I had to cook something so seasonal and delicious! Last night’s dinner was definitely seasonal and delicious even if it was above 90° out. With pie pumpkins in abundance this week, I quickly scooped one up to try a fresh, seasonal take on an ordinary risotto. If you don’t know what risotto is, you are seriously missing out. Risotto is a heavy, Italian rice dish cooked low and slow with plenty of doses of broth and often cream to bring about a hearty meal. It can be served as a side, a blanket for a protein, or a complete meal itself.
A few weeks ago, I happened across a recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook (part of a set which includes an entertaining book!) for Risotto with Pumpkin and Sage! This seemed rather fitting to serve for dinner on the first fall evening of the year. Plus, any excuse to make risotto is fine by me!
I’m no stranger to pie pumpkins. I’ve been using them to make my own pumpkin pies for a good decade now. Ever since I experienced how easy it was just to slice open and roast, I haven’t purchased store-bought-in-the-can pumpkin! For this recipe, however the pumpkin was treated like another type of squash that we all know and love… butternut! In this instance the pumpkin is not roasted soft, but cubed and sautéed instead.
After sautéeing the cubed pumpkin, it is set aside to begin the process of fattening and tenderizing the short, corpulent grains of Italian rice low and slow with plenty of onion and chicken broth. For this recipe, I used homemade chicken broth in which I had used portabella mushrooms so my risotto ended up being a little darker than the rich, blonde dish everyone is used to seeing. When the grains are fairly well swollen and almost finished cooking, the pumpkin is folded into the contents of the saucepan and studded with fresh minced fresh sage.
The resulting dish was far superior to what we expected. The Mr actually looked at me funny when I was sautéeing the pumpkin. It’s not the most familiar smell, but it sure does taste good! It reminds me very much of sweet potato. I’ve actually used cubed pumpkin to make a great pumpkin stew! The soft sage has a mild, woodsy flavor that complements the sweet, earthiness of the pumpkin. The whole is supported by the creamy, fattiness of the risotto and rounded out by notes of bright saltiness from freshly shredded Parmesan.
What are some of your favorite fall dishes?