I just KNOW you have some pumpkin around…and am here to help you make it into the best savory side dish on your Thanksgiving table. Or as a main course as the ultimate show stopper at your next dinner party. Yes, this dish has the WOW factor.
It starts with a fresh roasted pumpkin which is incredibly easy to do. For this recipe I would probably use a Red Kuri, Kabocha or Butternut – because all these (squashes) are suitable for stews. Depending on the size, it might take a little longer to bake than a sugar pie pumpkin, but as long as the ‘shell’ becomes tender, you’re good to go.
Another fun addition is the crispy sage. I recently taught a cooking class and tried it myself for the first time. It is a lovely accompaniment to many savory dishes and adds a bit of texture, too.
Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Sage – Serves 8
5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped (2/3 cup)
2 cups Arborio rice (or farro for a nuttier taste, texture)
10 ounces fresh pumpkin, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup canned or carton pumpkin*
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 cup grated Parmesan or other combination (I used a cheddar/Parm blend which was fabulous)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10-25 sage leaves
Heat broth in a saucepan and keep warm.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 3 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice, fresh pumpkin and nutmeg. Stir for about a minute, making sure all rice is coated in butter. Add 1 cup chicken broth, stirring well; reduce heat to low. Once broth is incorporated, add 1/2 cup more broth, stirring constantly. Continue to add broth in 1/2 cup increments as rice absorbs liquid, until rice is cooked. Rice will take about 25 minutes to cook and should be creamy but al dente when done.
In last few minutes of cooking, stir in canned pumpkin* (or use more of the roasted pumpkin, mashed) and maple syrup.
Remove risotto from heat and stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Let rest a few minutes before serving and garnish with sage leaves.
Crispy Sage Leaves
These leaves crisp up after they have been removed from the hot oil and begin to cool down. They can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
25 medium or large fresh sage leaves
Fine grain sea salt
Wash your sage leaves and then ensure that they are very thoroughly dried. Set aside.
Line a plate with several layers of paper towel and set aside.
Place a small saucepan over medium heat and allow to heat up for a minute or so. Add the olive oil and then carefully add one of the fresh sage leaves. Check to see that your oil is hot enough so that the sage leaf fries in about 5 seconds per side or so. You may need to use the back of a fork to keep the leaf flat and submerged in the oil. After 5 seconds flip the sage leaf over and fry for an additional 5 seconds. The leaves should emerge a bright green with no hints of browning. Remove from the oil using tongs and place on the sheets of paper towel.
Once you have the proper temperature add 4 or 5 sage leaves at a time and cook the remaining leaves in batches. If the leaves are turning brown or cooking too quickly turn the heat down to medium low. Once they are cooling on the sheets of paper towel season with salt.
Makes up to 25 leaves.
We have so much to be grateful for. Enjoy every morsel. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!