This baked Pumpkin Risotto looks thoroughly unimpressive when it comes out of the oven. But with a few big stirs, it miraculously transforms into a luxurious, CREAMY risotto with a magnificent colour that no one can resist!
And to think that you can make this without standing over the hot stove, stirring constantly……. Believe it. You CAN make an amazing, creamy risotto in the oven!
ULTRA CREAMY, ULTRA EASY PUMPKIN RISOTTO
For pumpkin lovers, for risotto lovers, for good food lovers everywhere – this Pumpkin Risotto recipe is for you.
If you’re new to the wonders of baked risotto, this will be a life changing recipe for you. It is truly creamy, it looks and tastes luxurious, and it doesn’t even have a drop of cream in it.
And yet, rather than standing over a hot stove, stirring constantly for 20 minutes, it’s just plonked in the oven. Take it out, give it a few vigorous stirs – and this is what you get:
And it tastes even better than it looks!!!
HOW TO MAKE THIS BAKED PUMPKIN RISOTTO
You are going to be amazed how easy it is to make risotto in the oven.
It starts on the stove like a normal risotto, with sautéed garlic and onion. We can’t skip this flavour base. Nor do we want to skip deglazing the pot with a touch of white wine (or broth or even water) and toasting the risotto lightly in the pot.
From here, the recipe changes completely from a traditional risotto recipe. Add the liquids and pumpkin, give it a stir, cover, then bake in the oven for 25 minutes
No stirring. Not even once. In fact, I forbid you to open that oven. If you do, you lose heat and you’ll disrupt the cooking process!
WATCH THE MAGIC HAPPEN
Open the lid, and you’ll be greeted with the sight of some seriously stodgy looking rice, about as far from a creamy risotto as can be. But have faith. This is where the magic happens. Give it a vigorous stir, watch as the soft cooked pumpkin disintegrates and transforms into a puree which creates the creamy pumpkin sauce for this risotto
It tastes savoury yet sweet from the pumpkin. The rice is perfectly cooked – al dente, just the way I like.
The risotto is creamy rather than stodgy and gluey. And we haven’t used a single drop of cream!
INGREDIENTS IN PUMPKIN RISOTTO
Astonishingly few ingredients in Pumpkin Risotto! The key ingredient to ensure you get right is the rice – see below for more information.
Other than this, the other ingredients are actually fairly simple and adaptable. Don’t have wine? No problems, just use water or broth. Prefer olive oil rather than butter? Go ahead. Switch sage with other herbs, use canned or fresh pumpkin (yes really), use chicken or vegetable broth, or water + stock powder.
WHAT RICE TO USE FOR RISOTTO
Risotto needs to be made with risotto rice. It has a higher starch content which is what makes the creamy “sauce” without using cream.
There’s a few varieties but the most common at supermarkets is Arborio which is what I use.
OPTIONAL CRISPY SAGE LEAVES & BROWN BUTTER
I’ve garnished this Pumpkin Risotto with crispy sage leaves because pumpkin and sage are great mates, and it provides great texture.
The added bonus is that the butter used to crisp up the sage leaves turns into brown butter which is an incredible finish for any risotto. Just one or two teaspoons is all you need to elevate it to another level of luxuriousness.
But… this is optional……(she says, unconvincingly)
Let’s put it this way. It’s ok to skip it for an everyday meal. But it’s mandatory for company! – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Recipe video above. You'll be amazed how creamy this risotto is - even though it's BAKED without constant stirring! And it tastes as magnificent as it looks! Note: you won't use all the brown butter, see notes for ways to use the leftovers.
- 3 tbsp / 50 g unsalted butter , divided
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto rice) (Note 1)
- 1 onion , diced
- 600 g / 20 oz pumpkin (weight after peeling and deseeding) , diced into 1.7cm/2/3" cubes (about 4 heaped cups) (Note 2)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (or water or broth)
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock/broth
- 2 tbsp sage leaves, roughly chopped (Note 3)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese , finely grated
- Salt & pepper
- 50 g / 3 tbsp butter , salted
- 12 - 20 sage leaves
- Grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Melt 1 tbsp / 20g butter in ovenproof pot (preferably with a lid) over medium high heat.
Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent.
Add chopped sage and cook for 1 minute.
Add rice and stir so all the rice grains are coated with the butter and semi translucent.
Add white wine and cook until the the liquid evaporates - about 1 minute.
Add pumpkin and broth, stir. Let the liquid heat up but do not bring to simmer.
Put lid on (or cover tightly with foil) and place in oven for 25 minutes, until rice is just cooked (firm but not raw) - don't worry if there's excess liquid. If rice is still uncooked, return to oven for 5 minutes.
Add remaining butter and parmesan cheese.
Stir vigorously until the pumpkin turns into a puree and blends into the risotto. If it's too thick then add a splash of hot tap water. Should have a porridge like consistency so it sags a bit when served (see video), rather than staying in a tall, firm pile.
Spoon into serving bowls. Garnish with crispy sage, 1 or 2 teaspoons of brown butter and parmesan cheese. Devour immediately!
Melt butter in a small pan over medium high heat. Once foaming, add sage leaves and stir gently.
Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until crispy.
Immediately remove sage onto paper towel lined plate and pour butter into a heat proof jug (butter should be brown by now).
1. Risotto Rice - Risotto needs to be made with risotto rice (Arborio rice) because it’s extra starchy and this is what makes risotto beautifully creamy without the use of cream.
2. Pumpkin - Use any fresh pumpkin (any type but not Jack-O-Latern carving ones) OR butternut squash (we call it butternut pumpkin in Australia).
Fresh trumps canned in terms of flavour. However, this can be made with canned pumpkin- use 1.5 cans (even 1 can is enough), and stir it in when it comes out of the oven.
3. Sage goes very well with pumpkin, but it is a very subtle flavour in this dish so don't worry if you don't have it. If you have parsley, thyme or oregano, these will be a good substitute.
The crispy sage adds great texture and a "wow" factor. I usually only do this for company.
- Salt - It is important to remember to season at the very end and not at the beginning as you never really know how strong the salt from the stock/broth is once absorbed into the rice.
- Leftover Brown Butter - It's unlikely you'll use it all. But you can't use less otherwise it's too hard to crisp the sage leaves (I tried). Drizzle leftovers on almost any protein, pasta, omelettes, onto soups. Just a tiny drizzle adds an extra element of luxuriousness to anything!
- Servings: Even though there is only 1 1/2 cups of rice, this makes a lot (because of the 3 cups of pumpkin). It will feed 4 hungry people or 6 normal servings.
- Baking time - if you are using a heavy cast iron casserole pot with a lid, then the cook time should be 25 minutes because it retains heat so well. If you are using a lighter weight pot covered with foil, then it might take closer to 35 to 40 minutes.
- Add protein: Turn this into a complete meal by adding chicken and spinach. Chop chicken, season with salt and pepper (add herbs if you want too). Add the chicken when the onion is translucent and cook until white (still raw inside). Then follow the directions of the recipe. When you stir the butter and parmesan into the cooked risotto, add the spinach as well - you can add as much spinach as you want, but 3 packed cups is ideal. The residual heat from the risotto will wilt it quickly. You may need to add a splash of water to loosen it up a bit.
- Veganise it by omitting the parmesan (check the salt level by taste) and using vegetable rather than chicken stock.
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 1 tsp of brown butter, excludes parmesan garnish and crispy sage (because I don't know how to calculate nutrition for that).
Originally published 2014. Post completely rewritten, new photos, new recipe video. Recipe amended very slightly to add crispy sage leaves and tidy up directions.
LIFE OF DOZER
Well, at least he’s out having fun in the water while suffering the indignity of Halloween dress ups…..