Risotto alla Zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)

Serves 4 

Part of the fun of making risotto is coming up with all kinds of ingredients to combine with it. This creamy pumpkin risotto comes from my friend Terry Rozzi, whose home is Cremona in Northern Italy. Adding pumpkin provides a delicate color and a slightly sweet taste. Use pie pumpkin to approximate the taste of the zucca gialla  (yellow pumpkin) of Cremona.

1 small pie pumpkin (about ½ pound)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, well rinsed and finely chopped
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
3½ cups hot chicken broth (homemade is best)
Fine sea salt, to taste
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  1. Cut off the pumpkin stem and, with a vegetable peeler, remove the skin. Cut the pumpkin in half, and remove and discard the seeds and stringy flesh. Dice enough pumpkin into ¼-inch pieces to make 1 cup. Reserve the rest of the pumpkin for another use.
  2. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and leek. Cook, stirring often until the pumpkin softens. Stir in the rice and coat it with the butter mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until the rice begins to make a crackling sound, about 4–5 minutes. Do not let the rice brown.
  3. Slowly add the wine, and stir until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Slowly add the broth and allow it to be absorbed. Cook until the rice is still firm but cooked through. At this point, the rice should be creamy and fluid. Taste it to correct for salt.
  4. Stir in the cheeses and blend well. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of ciaoitalia.com

Categories: Main Dishes, Side dishes