Creamy and full of savory fall flavor, Pumpkin Risotto, makes an excellent vegetarian main dish or a versatile side dish.
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9 times of out 10, when planning a dinner party menu, risotto (or some form of it) is in the running for the final spread.
Creamy, savory, and -- let's be honest -- a bit more work and babysitting than most quick weeknight dinners, it's a dish that only comes out when company, comfort, or Sunday dinner come around.
Rather than being feared for the extra work, the dish is promising of connection, satisfaction, and the indulgence to come.
Coming into fall entertaining season, I decided it was time for a pumpkin risotto recipe to come into rotation. One that delivered the warm, savory, herbal, and rich notes of slower and comfier days in addition to the hallmark cheesy, nutty, and umami notes.
And so, today, we my interpretation of the dish. Made with canned pumpkin puree, vegetable or chicken broth or stock, parmesan cheese, fresh sage, and dried herbs, this creamy rice is surprisingly approachable for how impressive and indulgent it is.
This fall risotto recipe is...
This recipe is therapeutic to make and a joy to eat. It's as perfect for a weeknight dinner as it is a dinner party.
- Canned pumpkin puree
- Arborio rice
- Vegetable or chicken stock - use vegetable stock to keep this recipe vegetarian
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Dry white wine - like pinot grigio, chardonnay, or sauvignon blanc
- Onion - yellow or white
- Fresh sage
- Dried thyme & rosemary
- Olive oil
- Unsalted butter
- Half & half - or 1 part whole milk, 1 part heavy cream
- White wine vinegar - I used white balsamic vinegar
- Rice - carnaroli or vialone nano can substitute for the arborio rice
- Broth - vegetable or chicken stock are perfect in place of the broth
- Sage - 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage can replace the fresh sage
- Cream - 1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream can substitute for the half & half
How to make pumpkin risotto:
- Add vegetable or chicken broth and pumpkin puree to a sauce pan. Whisk until combined and bring until just below a simmer.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onion, sage, dried thyme, and dried rosemary. Sauté until the onions just start to turn translucent.
- Add the rice to the onions and herbs. Sauté until the rice smells nutty.
- Add the wine to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, or until almost entirely evaporated.
- Add hot pumpkin broth to the rice in increments, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to absorb before adding more, or until the rice is cooked through and surrounded by a thick pumpkin sauce.
- Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the salt, half & half and parmesan cheese until combined. Stir in the white wine vinegar to combine. Serve hot!
- Stir the risotto continually throughout the cooking time. From sautéing the onions and rice to stirring in the pumpkin broth, this dish needs to be continually stirred-- or stirred every 15 to 30 minutes -- as it cooks.
- Don't step away from the pan. No, seriously. This will remind you to keep stirring the rice and to know when you need to add more broth to the pan. This recipe is fairly high maintenance but I promise it will be worth it. Always stay within arms reach of the pan.
- Prep the ingredients before starting the recipe. Since you need to stay within arms reach of the pan at all times, it's important that you prep the ingredients before firing up the stove. This will help the recipe go smoother and faster.
The secret to great risotto is to use hot (though not boiling) broth, to stir it frequently as it cooks, to not overcook the rice (you want it al dente), and to stir the cheese in just before serving. Warm broth helps release the starch in the rice, stirring the rice constantly helps it cook evenly and to release more starch. Finally, stirring the cheese in just before serving will keep the cheese from overcooking or burning.
No, you do not have to put wine in risotto. You can also make this recipe by substituting an additional ½ cup of broth or stock for the wine and the end result will be delicious.
This recipe is also delicious served along many main dishes, such as:
Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wooden paddle or heat safe spatula
- Large sauté pan
- Sauce pan
- Soup ladle
More pumpkin recipes:
- Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
- Herbed Chicken with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
- Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!