Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pumpkin Risotto with Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries

I don’t remember pumpkin being as popular as it has become in the past few years.  While I could always count on pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread hitting the grocery store shelves at the sight of the first leaf falling, it wasn’t until the introduction of the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte at our favorite coffee shop, that I jumped on the bandwagon and began creating what has become my favorite sweet and savory pumpkin recipes. 

I wish I could say that I make Pumpkin Risotto with Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries because I want to impress my vegetarian and gluten free friends, but the truth is that I am neither vegetarian nor gluten free yet I absolutely love this rich and creamy dish, perfect for an elegant weeknight meal or a vegetarian offering at my Thanksgiving Dinner table.  If you like pumpkin as much as I do, try some of my earlier posts….Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Mousse, and Pumpkin Spice Cookies.  

§     4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
§     1 cup canned pumpkin puree
§     4 tablespoons unsalted butter
§     1 shallot, minced
§     1 teaspoon kosher salt
§     1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
§     1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
§     1/2 cup dry white wine
§     1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
§     1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
§     1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
§     1 cup crumbled goat cheese
§     1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
§     1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Although it is simple to make, Risotto does require you to devote 20 minutes of your undivided attention.  When cooking long grain rice, you are discouraged from stirring the rice while cooking because the starches will release and the rice will end up a sticky mess.  With Risotto, you want the starch to release which is what makes the dish creamy.  That is why we use starchy Arborio Rice and continuously stir during the cooking process.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the stock and pumpkin over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cover and keep warm. 

In a large saucepan, sauté minced shallot in 2 teaspoons butter. Add salt and cook until tender but not brown. 

Add the rice and sauté for one minute, until all of the rice is coated in butter.  Add the white wine and stir continuously until the mixture begins to simmer.

Add 1 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Continue cooking the rice adding 1 cup of broth at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, half of the parsley, nutmeg and fresh thyme. 

Pour into serving bowl and top with remaining parsley, goat cheese and dried cranberries.  Serve immediately.  For added crunch, sprinkle with slivered almonds (optional) .

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Pumpkin Risotto with Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries.  Enjoy!