A rich creamy pumpkin risotto recipe is that showstopper that every home cook needs in their arsenal. The perfect creamy texture paired with a little sweet from the pumpkin and savory from the mushrooms makes it a versatile side dish that. With the added protein from the mushrooms, this could also be a main dish paired with vegetables for a well rounded meal.
Creamy Pumpkin Risotto
My first introduction to risotto was at a small Italian restaurant in downtown Portland, Oregon. While I had heard of it and knew what risotto was, I had never tried it. The idea of creamy rice didn't feel "special" to me, and boy was I in for a surprise. The delightful texture of risotto soon became a favorite and has since been a regular in our menu.
What Mushroom is Best in This Recipe?
This pumpkin version of risotto is a great way to add a depth of flavor that pairs absolutely beautifully with sauteed cremini mushrooms. These are often called baby bella as they are a smaller version of the popular portobello mushroom.
The white button mushroom is essentially an older version of the cremini and can also be used in this recipe with equally great results. Another choice with similar flavor is the porcino which is widely used in Italian dishes and lends it's texture and flavor to risotto naturally.
While a shitake or even a chantrerelle mushroom may bring a deeper flavor, and can be substituted in this dish, I much prefer the smoothness of the cremini.
No matter what your preference, mushrooms are an excellent addition to this recipe to add both depth of flavor, but also texture. There is much to be said about pairing the meatiness of a mushroom with savory richness to the soft and sweet flavor of the pumpkin in this dish.
Do I Have to Use a Special Rice for Making Risotto?
For this recipe, I have recommended using Arborio rice a it is readily available and most common. Other options that work well are Carnaroli, Baldo, Nano, and Vialone. These all will give great results, but the Arborio is a favorite as it has a creamier textue once cooked, and really works well to achieve the result you desire.
Can I Use Canned Pumpkin Puree?
Cooking down fresh pumpkin is an easy step that I find gives the best flavor for this recipe. Canned pumpkin puree can work well enough, but you must remember that most canned pumpkin is actually not really pumpkin but a similar squash.
The flavor is similar, but not nearly as delicious as if you used fresh pumpkin.
If fresh pumpkin isn't available to you, or you don't have the added time to peel, cube, and cook it, feel free to reach for that can of pumpkin puree.
How Can I Make Pumpkin Risotto Vegan?
This recipe, while not vegan, is a great naturally vegetarian option. If you wish to make this totally vegan, you would need to use a plant-based butter or margarine.
You will also want to skip the Parmesan cheese topping. The added cheese definitely helps offset the sweetness of the pumpkin but isn't necessary for a great result.
Tip: If you want that nuttiness from the Parmesan, you can sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast on top for a similar effect that is still vegan.
- Olive oil
- Cremini mushrooms
- Arborio rice
How to Make Creamy Pumpkin Risotto
To prepare your pumpkin for this recipe, you will preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF and prepare a baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Then, you will place your already peeled and cubed pumpkin onto the baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper before baking until tender. Since this takes about 40 minutes, you will need to plan ahead to do this step before you begin cooking the risotto on the stovetop.
Once the pumpkin has cooled and been allowed to cool, you will puree it in the blender or food processor.
Now, you will heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook the mushrooms. You want them to be a nice, brown, and slightly crispy. Season them with salt, pepper, and white wine and vinegar. Set these aside to top the dish later.
Now, you will melt butter and the leftover olive oil and saute onions in it until they are translucent. Add in the garlic and herbs, then you will mix in the uncooked rice.
Stir this together nicely, then begin pouring in the broth, one cup at a time. Makes sure you are stirring constantly and waiting for the previous amount of broth to absorb before adding the next cup. Unlike regular rice, you will need to tend this the entire time it cooks.
Within 10-15 minutes, the rice should be done with a soft and creamy outside, with slightly hard texture on the inside. A perfect al dente is what you are looking to create.
Mix in the pumpkin puree, and then taste to see if more salt and pepper is needed. Season as desired, then serves topped with the mushrooms from earlier, some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Remember, when risotto is cooked, you don't cover it with a lid like you would other rice recipes. That means more liquid evaporates. You'll easily need up to three times the amount of liquid in this recipe than a traditional plain rice. Keep the broth handy to add more if needed to obtain the creamy texture you desire.
Similar Yummy Recipes:
Need another all-in-one meal? Make this creamy chicken pasta with mushrooms and artichokes. If you have a slow cooker, you'll enjoy this slow cooker chicken and mushrooms recipe.
For the Instant Pot, you can make this lovely herbed chicken thighs with mushrooms instead. Of course, I love this stuffed peppers with creamy chicken and mushrooms for a simple meal that is packed with veggies.
- 300 g (10 oz) pumpkin, peeled, cut into cubes;
- 3 tbsp olive oil;
- 300 g (10 oz) cremini mushrooms, chopped into quarters;
- ½ cup parmesan, shredded;
- 1 ½ cup Arborio rice;
- 3 tbsp olive oil;
- 2 tbsp butter;
- 5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth;
- 1 onion, chopped;
- 4 garlic cloves, minced;
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar;
- ½ tsp thyme;
- ½ tsp oregano.
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Cover baking pan with foil or parchment. Drizzle pumpkin with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for around 40 minutes or until soft.
- When the pumpkin has cooled down, puree it using blender.
- Preheat a pan with some olive oil and cook mushrooms in it until they are nice, brown and slightly crispy. Season with salt, pepper and white wine vinegar.
- Melt butter with leftover olive oil and sauté onions in it until translucent. Add garlic and herbs, cook for 1 minute more and stir in uncooked Arborio rice.
- After another minute start pouring in any broth of your choice a cup at a time, while stirring constantly and waiting for the previous potion of the broth to absorb before adding the next one.
- After around 10-15 minutes the rice should be done (soft, creamy, but still slightly hard on the inside – al dente).
- Mix in pumpkin puree, adjust seasoning (salt and pepper) to taste. Serve topped with crispy mushrooms, some parmesan cheese and drizzled with olive oil.
This dish is a great all-in-one meal that pairs beautifull with roasted broccoli, asapargus, or artichokes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 21.5gSaturated Fat: 6.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 913mgCarbohydrates: 47.2gNet Carbohydrates: 43.7gFiber: 3.5gSugar: 3.9gProtein: 12.6g