We kicked off the autumn season in our house this week with this yummy pumpkin risotto recipe. It is pure comfort food, hearty, and delicious! With rosemary, garlic, a little bit of white wine, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and fresh roasted pumpkin!
How To Make Pumpkin Risotto
Risotto takes some time to prep and cook, approximately 30-45 minutes. But it is SO worth it. This pumpkin risotto recipe is best for a weekend afternoon or evening when you don’t feel rushed. It’s also perfect for a pot luck side dish or impressive dinner party meal. Start by gathering your ingredients together. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
Pumpkin Risotto Ingredients
- 1 small baking pumpkin (the kind you find in your produce department, not the ones for carving jack-o-lanterns)
- arborio or short grain rice
- white wine
- vegetable stock
- mascarpone cheese
- olive oil
- fresh rosemary
- bay leaf
- roasted pumpkin seeds
- mascarpone cheese
- fresh grated parmesan
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Prep Pumpkin To Make Risotto
Start by prepping the pumpkin for cooking. Wash and dry the outside of the pumpkin. Then, carefully, use a sharp knife vegetable peeler to peel the skin off the outside of the pumpkin. Then, cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and dice the pumpkin into half inch cubes. Sometimes I find it helpful to place a kitchen towel between the pumpkin and the cutting board to help make it more steady and not roll around.
Prep The Spices And Other Ingredients
Finely chop the rosemary and onion. Press or grate the garlic clove. Get a measuring cup ready to pour the wine, vegetable stock, and water. I find it helpful to have all three beside me at the stove. You’ll only add a cup at a time and it is easiest to use a cup with a pour spout.
Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick 3 or 4 quart sauté pan and brown the pumpkin. If they’re in smaller cubes, they’ll cook through more easily. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the rosemary and set aside in a separate bowl or plate.
Sauté the onion and garlic in the same pan that you cooked the pumpkin. Cook for 3-4 minutes until onion is browned and translucent.
Once onion has cooked for a couple of minutes, ddd the rice (dry) and sauté another 2-3 minutes until the rice is translucent.
The rice should look like it has absorbed some of the oils and flavors from the pan.
Pour in about a quarter of the white wine and half the stock. I like to add each liquid in just a cup at a time. The liquid should come to about 2 cm above the rice, if necessary add a little water. Bring to a simmer and stir continuously, adding more stock and wine from time to time as the rice absorbs the liquid and becomes dry.
Overall, it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to simmer and you should use all the wine and stock by the end. I like to add a half cup, allow the rice to absorb it, then add a half cup more. Continuing this process while alternating liquids between wine, broth, and water. This is what helps the risotto get that perfect comfort food texture (as opposed to steamed rice).
Set the heat to low and add the mascarpone and honey. If your skillet is small, you may need to transfer the risotto rice to a larger pot. Mix in the mascarpone until it’s well blended throughout the rice, like a creamy sauce.
Fold in the pumpkin seeds and browned sautéed pumpkin into the cheesy risotto mix. Carefully mix everything together.
Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with rosemary sprigs and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and enjoy!
What To Serve With Pumpkin Risotto
Pumpkin risotto is great on it’s own, but if you’d like to make a meal out of it, I recommend serving a grilled or roasted meat along side the risotto. Such as an oven roasted lemon rosemary chicken, or sheet pan pork chops. An autumn themed side salad is also a great idea.
Pumpkin Risotto Recipe Inspiration
This recipe was inspired by my trip to Zurich where I visited the first vegetarian restaurant in the world — Hiltl. Founded in 1898 as the Vegetarian Home and Abstinence Café, the people of Zurich used to joke that it was a “root cellar” until successful entrepreneur, Ambrosius Hiltl turned things around for them in 1904.
Adding a mix of spices from his world travels and a few family recipes, the restaurant has flourished through four generations of Hiltl’s and now offers over 500 vegetarian dishes, an epic buffet, and even a vegetarian butcher. Yes, I said vegetarian butcher. It looks like any other juice bar or trendy deli that you’d visit, except what looks like meat, isn’t.
I have to confess, their legendary tar tar, that looks just like steak tartar, really fooled my palate. Even though I’m a carnivore at heart, I really appreciated this slice of history in the city and their flavorful vegetarian dishes.
I picked up a cookbook to take home as a souvenir, and this recipe is adapted from Hiltl’s Pumpkin Honey Risotto. I tweaked it just a bit, adding in more wine and mascarpone for a richer flavor (who doesn’t love more wine and cheese?).
Enjoy! And cheers to autumn! In the mood for all things pumpkin? You might also want to try our one bowl pumpkin bread, pumpkin flan, and pumpkin cream cheese stuffed muffins. If you’re making these from scratch, check out how to peel and dice fresh pumpkin.
- 1 small pumpkin
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 springs fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 1/2 cups risotto rice (arborio works well)
- 1 bay leaf
- 500 ml white wine
- 800 ml cold vegetable stock
- 1-2 tbsp honey
- 2-3 ounces roasted pumpkin seeds
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 1-2 ounce fresh grated parmesan
- 2 cups water
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Peel and dice the pumpkin into half inch cubes, then finely chop the rosemary. Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick 3 or 4 quart sauté pan and brown the pumpkin. If they're in smaller cubes, they'll cook through more easily. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the rosemary and set aside in a separate bowl or plate.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic, then sauté in the same pan that you cooked the pumpkin. Add the rice (dry) and sauté another 2-3 minutes until the rice is translucent.
- Pour in about a quarter of the white wine and half the stock. The liquid should come to about 2 cm above the rice, if necessary add a little water.
- Bring to a simmer and stir continuously, adding more stock and wine from time to time as the rice absorbs the liquid and becomes dry. Overall, it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to simmer and you should use all the wine and stock by the end.
- Transfer the risotto to a large pot set on low heat and add the mascarpone and honey. Mix in the mascarpone until it's well blended throughout the rice, like a creamy sauce.
- Fold in the pumpkin seeds and browned pumpkin into the cheesy risotto mix.
- Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with rosemary sprigs and freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano.
My trip to Zurich was sponsored by Zurich Tourism. The Travel Bite maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site, and as always, enthusiasm for travel and food are entirely my own. Originally published Oct 6, 2015, and updated in 2022.