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Cheesy Pumpkin Risotto

October 26, 2012

Whoa, this week has been flying by like a runaway train. This time of year is always such a chaotic rush to cram in all of the fun Fall things I love and enjoy every last bit of gorgeous weather before it turns cold, dark, and gray for the winter. I keep catching myself thinking it’s still mid-September when in fact October is almost done and over.


In between trying to cram in all of my favorite outdoor Fall activities, I keep trying to cram in all of my favorite Fall foods too. I couldn’t very well let October pass without sharing a pumpkin recipe, no matter how fast time is flying by. In the past I’ve shared recipes for pumpkin cookies (a few times), baked pumpkin donut holes, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin cheesecake and even pumpkin pie pudding.

This year we’re going savory with Cheesy Pumpkin Risotto.

Now if you’re like me and used to eating your pumpkin in desserts, your first thought might be that cheese and pumpkin seems a little strange. I assure you, it doesn’t taste strange at all. This risotto is a closer relative to mac and cheese than it is the classic pumpkin pie. It’s creamy and cheesy, with al dente bites of arborio rice for texture and lots of pumpkin flavor. The wine and slight heat from the cayenne give it that little bit of something extra that tastes it from good to great.

It’s completely, totally, fantastically addictive.

It seems like I’m always making confessions, but here I go with another one: I had never made risotto before my coworker gave me this recipe last year. (Yes, I’ve been keeping this recipe from you for a whole year. I’m sorry.) I’ve been hooked ever since. I do not know how I grew up in an Italian family and never managed to make risotto, but it’s true. So this recipe is a reflection of how I like to make and eat my risotto. I take a few short cuts in the process and it may not be 100% authentic, but I’m OK with that.

I think once you taste this Cheesy Pumpkin Risotto, you’ll be OK with it too!

Cheesy Pumpkin Risotto

Adapted from All Recipes
Serves 6 as a side

Make sure you use plain pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. I normally use only 3 cups of broth, but you may need 4 depending on your rice. I cheat and speed up the cooking process by microwaving the broth until it’s hot before adding it to the rice. I like to serve it with roasted chicken, though it can also make a fantastic meal on it’s own!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
fresh herbs for garnish


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add arborio rice and stir. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine to rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until wine has been absorbed. Meanwhile, pour 2 cups of chicken broth in a glass measuring cup and microwave on High for about 2 minutes, or until hot. Raise heat to medium-high. Add 1 cup of heated broth to rice and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Repeat, adding 1 cup of heated broth and cooking until absorbed, with the remaining 2-3 cups of broth or until rice is al dente and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in pumpkin, Parmesan and Gruyere. Add cayenne and salt to taste.

Best served immediately.

  1. Healthy Glow Nutrition permalink
    October 26, 2012 9:41 am

    My favorite combinations! I love pumpkin and the fall is perfect for this dish!

  2. October 26, 2012 10:04 am

    This looks delicious!!!

  3. October 26, 2012 10:37 am

    Omg yum! Looks so delicious!

  4. October 26, 2012 3:43 pm

    It a fantastic side dish with cider-glazed pork or chicken! Your photos look awesome! Risotto is never the most photogenic of side dishes. :-)

  5. October 27, 2012 10:23 am

    How can you not smile, when faced with a dish as bright and inviting as this. Where’s the diving board? I feel the need to tumble head first into it.

  6. October 27, 2012 10:24 am

    Oh wow! That looks simply fantastic. What a colour!

  7. October 27, 2012 10:25 am

    It looks delicious. Creamy and flavory ;)

  8. October 27, 2012 4:54 pm

    YUM – grab a spoon and dig in – thanks for sharing! Happy Weekend:)

  9. October 27, 2012 5:33 pm

    We in New Zealand are the opposite. Pumpkin is very rarely used in sweet dishes unless we use an American recipe. Savoury all the way.
    Your risotto method looks not far off the “proper” way of making it. I would probably add less liquid each time but it is the end result that matters and this looks pretty good.

  10. October 29, 2012 12:11 am

    Suzanne beat me to it, but I was also going to comment how funny it is to hear you say that you’re used to eating pumpkin in desserts. Here in Australia (and NZ), it normally features as a staple veg with roast dinners or in pumpkin soup!

    The colours of the finished dish are incredible – a very apt relection of autumn/fall shades.

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      October 29, 2012 6:42 am

      Angelica & Suzanne – I love that I have readers from Australia and NZ, and I love hearing about the differences in our countries! :) I think here in the US we’re more likely the use butternut squash in savory dishes (roasted and in soups), while pumpkin is usually in pies, cakes, cookies and sweetened coffee drinks. Kind of funny since butternut squash tastes just like pumpkin!

  11. October 29, 2012 3:03 pm

    This looks so bright and beautiful! Thanks for the lovely photo of fall colors, too… That’s exactly what I miss the most about the Midwest now that I live in California.

  12. November 9, 2012 3:42 pm

    The color of this dish is simply stunning! I also really appreciate the addition of cayenne pepper. I’m a big fan of savory pumpkin dishes so this will definitely be a must try for me. Being able to experience the gorgeous fall foliage again is one of the best things about being back in New England and I love that you duplicated those hues here.

  13. November 18, 2012 7:19 am

    I don’t take wine in my food, what do you think would be the best substitute for that?

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      November 18, 2012 8:49 am

      The wine is in the recipe to add flavor and for a bit of acid to balance the creaminess of the risotto. If you would prefer to omit the wine, I would substitute an equal amount of broth. (You can add it in with the rest of the broth – no need to add it separately like the wine.) Then at the very end, taste the finished risotto. If you find it still needs a little something, add maybe up to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice OR 1 – 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, tasting as you go to get the right amount of balance. Hope that helps! If you try it let me know how it turns out :)

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