Michael Romano

P U M P K I N   R I S O T T O

Yield: Serves 6

Here is a comforting risotto, perfect for a brisk Autumn or Winter day. Though many recipes for pumpkin risotto call for diced pumpkin simmered in chicken broth, we use a sweet-spiced pumpkin broth to capture the elusive and delicate pumpkin flavor.

P U M P K I N   B R O T H

(yield: 7-8 cups of liquid)

  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves, washed and sliced
    1 leek, washed and thinly sliced,
  • white and light green parts only
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups diced (1/2 inch) fresh pumpkin,
    butternut, or other firm-fleshed squash
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6-7 cups pumpkin broth
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 2 cups arugula, washed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3/4 ounce)
  • 3 tsp butter

In a large saucepan or stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and leek; sauté until tender and moist, about 10 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, spices, and maple syrup. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer. To avoid ending up with a thick puree rather than a broth, take care not to mash the vegetables through the strainer.

In the same saucepan, heat the pumpkin broth to a simmer.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a separate, 3-quart heavy saucepan or skillet. Toss the rice and diced pumpkin and stir with a wooden spoon until coated with oil. Add the white wine and stir constantly until all the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Ladle 1/2 cup of hot pumpkin broth into the pan and stir until it is absorbed. Continue with the rest of the broth, adding 1/2 cup at a time and letting each addition be absorbed completely into the rice before adding more liquid. The constant stirring allows the rice to release its starch into the cooking liquid, resulting in the characteristic risotto creaminess. The grains of rice should be al dente. Count on approximately 20-25 minutes for the rice to cook.

Finish by stirring in the sage, arugula, mozzarella, salt, pepper, and half the Parmigiano. Swirl in the butter. Spoon into warm bowls, sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano and serve immediately.

Try to find an intensely fruity chardonnay,
pinot blanc or chenin blanc for
this richly flavored risotto.

Recipe from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook.
Reproduced by permission from Harper Collins.
Copyright © 1994 by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano

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