Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

This pumpkin risotto recipe is delicious and creamy but actually contains no cream and is fabulously healthy.

pumpkin risotto

Wondering what to do with leftover pumpkin?  Have you made a pie and have some cooked pumpkin left?  Don’t worry if you haven’t, as you can even use raw pumpkin in this dish and it will work out just as good. 

Here’s what I did the other day.  I had boiled up some pumpkin to make pumpkin pie bars and chocolate pumpkin cake.  (Both of which were totally yum, by the way). 

When I’d finished, I wondered what to do with a bowl of cooked pumpkin I had left, and it was getting on for lunchtime. 

So, pumpkin risotto I thought.  How hard can that be?  Well, not hard at all actually.  I had in the kitchen – half a left over  roast chicken, some spring onions, a couple of large flat mushrooms, some brown rice and some cheddar cheese.   And the bowl of cooked pumpkin of course.  You can use white rice if you like, but I love the texture and flavour of brown rice and its much higher in fibre and good for you. 

Here’s how I made the pumpkin risotto recipe.

I covered the left over chicken carcass with boiling water from the kettle, bunged in a couple of chopped garlic cloves, a few bits of leftover veggies I had in the fridge (a bit of leek, carrot and cabbage) and brought it to the boil.  (If you want to make a vegetarian version, you can do this without the chicken, substitute a homemade, or shop-bought vegetable stock.  You can add some soya chunks, or cashews at the end instead of the chicken if you want to increase the protein content).

pumpkin risotto

Meanwhile, I put some extra virgin olive oil in a large flat frying pan, chopped the mushrooms and spring onions and fried them gently with some more chopped garlic. When they had started to soften,  I added about 8 handfuls of brown rice and stirred it around so it could pick up the flavour.  This makes about 4 servings and just fits into a large frying pan. 

Meanwhile the chicken was boiling nicely and creating some lovely stock. 

pumpkin risotto

I ladled some of the stock over the rice and left it to cook for a while.  I repeated this process, adding more ladles of stock each time the rice had absorbed most of it. 

pumpkin risotto

With brown rice, this takes ages.  It took almost an hour for the rice to cook.  I know that brown rice takes longer to cook in stock than in plain water, so you could pre-cook the rice in a pan of boiling water (about 30 minutes) or in a rice cooker.  But when I tell you how delicious this turned out and I think it might well be because it had so long to absorb all the flavours of the stock, you will think it’s worth it like me.  But, if you’re short of time, you can use white rice – use a good short grain risotto rice like Valencia.  Then it should only take about 20 minutes for the rice to be ready.

I picked out some of the chicken breast from the stock and shredded it into the risotto.  

I added the pumpkin (about 2 small cups of cooked, roughly mashed pumpkin meat) right towards the end of the cooking, as it really only needed to heat through.  It was already partially mashed, so it broke down quickly and gave a beautiful creamy texture and a rich warm orangy colour to the risotto. 

If you haven’t pre-cooked your pumpkin, cut it into small chunks, about 1cm square, or even grate it, and add it 30 minutes after the rice if you use brown or 10 minutes after the rice if you use white rice. 

pumpkin risotto

As a final touch, I added about a cup of grated cheddar cheese and let it melt before stirring it through.  I'm sure it would be superb with parmesan too, which would be more authentic Italian, but I didn't have any! 

The flavour and texture of this was just wonderful.  The brown rice gives it an extra nutty bite and I love it. The vintage cheddar cheese gave a depth and bite that was subtle and satisfying.  It was absolutely worth the wait.  I am definitely going to make this pumpkin risotto every time I boil up a chicken carcass now. 

The added bonus was that I also had a big pan of chicken stock with chicken and vegetables still in it, which I made into soup. 

I managed to put one portion of this wonderful pumpkin risotto in the freezer, and it froze well, but it didn’t stay there  long.  Just too tempting.  I re-heated it straight in the microwave for about 4 minutes and it was good as new.

pumpkin risotto

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