A Shining Date Night

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Filipino recipe week for a few seasonal dishes. Now pumpkin has been all over the blog world for weeks – pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin-banana bread….I could go on and on. So we figured we’d jump on the band wagon, for the rest of this week anyway.

Last night’s Halloween festivities were a blast. The kids had so much fun collecting candy, playing with their friends and having a pizza night. Mr. N was our brave knight this year, 

and Miss A, well I’m sure you can guess what she was for Halloween. A princess of course.

Around here Halloween night is all about the kids, but Mike and I usually manage to throw a special date night in the mix too. You see around this time of year, twelve years ago, Mike and I made a fabulous live lobster dinner, carved our Halloween pumpkin and cuddled up to watch a scary movie, The Shining. After that wonderfully, eh-hem, romantic movie, Mike popped that all-important question, “Can I clean up the kitchen for you?” Okay, not that question…The big question, would I marry him.

So in celebration of the night that started it all (I did say yes after all.), we usually make a dinner just for the two of us to enjoy. We’ve made variations of tonight’s recipe, Pumpkin Risotto, for the past several years ever since my friend Beth sent us this recipe. It’s easily one of our favorite fall dishes.

First we started by cleaning out a two to four pound pumpkin and cutting it into eighths.

Next we covered the pumpkin with olive oil and a dash of sea salt and roasted it at 350F for an hour. After the pumpkin had been in the oven for about 30 minutes, we began the risotto. Or I should say, Mike began the risotto. We used our usual ingredients – olive oil, shallots, leeks, white wine, chicken stock and Arborio rice. We also threw in some fresh rosemary to cook with the shallots and leeks.

Mike followed his usual risotto method, which you can read about here or here. As for the pumpkin, once it was fully roasted, we removed it from the oven, peeled the fruit away from the skin and cut it into pieces. We then tossed it into the completed risotto, mixed it together and turned off the heat. We let the risotto rest with the pumpkin for ten minutes during which time we prepared our toppings. This time we went with pecans, pancetta, sage, garlic and Parmesan.

The Parmesan was mixed directly into the risotto just before the pumpkin and the garlic we had roasting with the pumpkin. As for the pecans, pancetta and sage leaves, we used the ten minutes the risotto was resting to crisp these up in a bit of oil. We then scooped out the risotto and topped it with the roasted garlic and crispy toppings.

And there you have our date night pumpkin risotto. It’s such a wonderful fall dish. The sweet pumpkin is offset by the savory flavors of the pancetta and sage, and the warm soft risotto is enhanced by the crunch of the toasted pecan. I’m getting hungry just thinking about this again.

It was easily a four spoon dish for both Mike and I – it is every time. And the fun part about this dish is that you really can customize it to fit your own tastes and moods. Not into pecans, try pine nuts. Don’t have pancetta on hand, go with bacon.

The only thing we really recommend is that you try it. If you’re into pumpkin as much as we are this time of year, this is a fun way to put the pumpkin center stage. I’d also say it makes for a fun date night in the kitchen and can easily be enjoyed while cuddling up and watching something romantic.

Print this recipe: Pumpkin Risotto

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51 comments on “A Shining Date Night

  1. [...] particular dish makes use of the leftover roasted pumpkin we had from our risotto and makes for a great lunch or side salad. If you don’t have any leftover pumpkin on [...]

  2. You have the cutest kids ever Kristy
    I love Miss A’s princess picture..she is so sweet

  3. Mel says:

    Kristy! You and Mike have the most fabulous way around love & romance. I love it :-) Just catching up on your posts now – still smiling my way through your blog as usual! Hope you are having a beautiful Sunday.

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Mel! We enjoy our “magic movie moments.” That’s what we’ve called our sickeningly romantic moments (that we love) since we were dating. It’s harder to find time for them now with the kids and work and all, but it’s so important to us. :)

  4. Eva Taylor says:

    Seriously? Proposing on Halloween? I knew I liked you both right away! Happy proposal anniversary Kristy and Mike. Love the risotto recipe. TGFFWiFi!

    • Kristy says:

      It wasn’t on Halloween itself, but right around then. Certainly when we were celebrating Halloween together, so now it’s just become part of the season. Glad you found free wifi! I hope that you’re enjoying your trip. I can’t wait to catch up on your stories…been a busy week, but I’m planning to sit down and get caught up tomorrow. I can’t wait. :)

  5. eftychia says:

    The recipe looks delicious but that girl is so cute!!

  6. Karen says:

    Halloween is definitely about kids and your two cuties looked like they really enjoyed themselves. I like the toppings that you used on the risotto. I never would have thought of pecans and they are my favorite nut.

  7. This made my day!
    I’m glad you (still) enjoy it! :-)

    … I might need to put pumpkin on my grocery list this weekend — I haven’t made that risotto since last year (though I did make a mushroom version last week).

    PS – Absolutely adorable costumes on Mr. N and Miss A!

  8. I love the kids’ costumes! Adorable. And the pumpkin risotto looks tasty too. It was sweet to read about the way Mike proposed! I have to say, though, that I cannot watch that clip from The Shining. It’s almost midnight and anything remotely scary/thrilling gets into my head, and then I can’t sleep. Speaking of which, it’s past my bedtime! :)

    • Kristy says:

      It’s funny, since I had kids, I have a much harder time watching scary movies. I used to just love them, couldn’t get enough. Now, like you said, it can’t be close to bedtime and I have to have lights on! LOL. :)

  9. Dawn says:

    Great pictures, your kids are adorable!!!!

  10. A_Boleyn says:

    The costumes of the little ones were charming, as is the association of this time of year with the popping of ‘the question’ which started your life together.

    About the only things I like made with pumpkin are pumpkin fudge and cheesecake. :)

  11. Caroline says:

    The image of your engagement put a huge smile on my face. I love it. What a wonderful memory, and this risotto is surely a way to celebrate. Miss A pulls the princess costume off wayyy too well! x

    • Kristy says:

      Glad to send a smile your way Caroline! :) It was a fun night. I remember shortly after the proposal Mike fell asleep. I spent the rest of the night on the phone with friends and then lying awake with a million thoughts running through my mind. LOL. And yes, it’s kind of scary how well Miss A pulls of the princess thing. ;)

  12. Charles says:

    Wonderfully festive and seasonal dish guys! I bought arborio rice after seeing your last risotto post and still didn’t get around to making one yet :D I can’t believe Mike proposed after watching The Shining… that’s awesomely funny! Nothing like a good bit of Jack Nicholson hacking and slashing his way through doors and blood-filled corridors to get a couple into a romantic mood :D

    • Kristy says:

      LOL! I know right?! It’s one of my favorite stories to retell. I’m sure some day the kids will appreciate it too. I’m not sure which is crazier – proposing after watching The Shining or saying yes after watching The Shining. LOL. And you’ll have to make a risotto soon – they are just too good! :)

  13. spicegirlfla says:

    Where do I begin to comment… Miss A is absolutely shining beautiful in her costume! What a smile! And Mr. N is taking his role very seriously!! Now for your finally joining the pumpkin crew….I love this recipe!! And that it was served for such a special occassion..how sweet of Mike to choose Halloween to propose!!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Linda! Miss A did look like quite the little beauty that night. Sometimes I’m just in awe of her. And Mr. N definitely gets into character. I just love his creativity! I love this recipe too. It’s so much fun to make and it has every single flavor I like! :)

  14. Pumpkin risotto? Oh, I would have loved to have been at your house on Halloween, except I don’t think an added guest is quite what you had in mind to celebrate your engagement night. Beautiful dish and I love the story as well. Take care Kristy!

  15. Okay so many things to say- first of all your kids are the cutest things ever! Love the costumes! Okay- secondly, your right the next big question next to will you marry me is Can I clean the kitchen for you-third- pumpkin risotto sounds fabulous- totally new to alot of people and delicious!

    • Kristy says:

      LOL! I’d also settle for – Can I get the kids bathed and to bed for you? And I have to admit – he’s great with asking that question. As for cleaning the kitchen…his heart’s in the right place, but that’s better left to me. ;)

  16. Mike proposed during The Shining? The guy rocks! I watch this movie every Halloween. Oh and the recipe looks so good too.

  17. Mary says:

    Kids looks like they had a blast! Too scared to watch the Shining! the risotto looks wonderful :)
    Mary x

  18. Courtney says:

    How romantic! I love that you celebrate your proposal (and so yummily!). And your kids are lovely!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Courtney! They really got into their costumes this year. :) And really we’ll take any excuse for a date night – but this one is particularly special. ;)

  19. Mr N and Miss A are too gorgeous in their costumes!
    Hmm, maybe I can help choose a romantic flik for you guys next time around – just saying… ;-)
    Awesome risotto! :-) Mandy

  20. Kelly says:

    I love that you find time to celebrate your proposal night – I think that’s so romantic and wonderful!! You know, I rarely make risotto but I have to say, this one looks particularly smashing – I love the roasted pumpkin (so I’m glad you buckled under seasonal pressure :0) and frankly, all the other ingredients are just scrumptious… (garlic and parmesan is one of my all-time fave combos). I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Shining (I would remember, right?) – is it positively horrifying?? The kids are too cute!! love all the bijoux on Miss A and the look of … solemnity (!) on Mr N. Have a good day Kristy!

    • Kristy says:

      Mr. N definitely jumps into his “roles.” You should see him practicing for his little part in the holiday show coming up at his school. He’s quite the dramatist! :) And you can bet that Miss A was in heaven with these jewels. You’d think they were real! LOL. The Shining is a pretty scary movie – and definitely a weird movie. I don’t think it’s as horrifying as some of the others though. It’s definitely one to see. Jack Nicholson is fantastic too!

  21. i agree with everyone, cute post! Loved how you started it off like a new broadcast interrupting a show! I make something similar, sausage pumpkin arborio rice dish. I love your date night story too! Sounds like your Halloween was full of fun!

    • Kristy says:

      Oh! Sausage would be another great addition to this dish. Perhaps that will be next year’s change-up in the recipe. :) I like it! (And I know Mike would too!)

  22. sallybr says:

    Ok, when i had JUST said I found the cutest photo of MIssA in the previous post, you post the winner of them all… not fair, as I wanted it to stay as the Banana Bewitched Bread.. but, it’s ok, I forgive you all

    and, with that brave knight as a brother to protect her, everything is perfect!

    loved this post, and the “shining” performance ;-)

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Sally! I don’t know…it’s tough to beat that banana mashing shot. ;) She was quite excited to get to play a princess for the night though. She was particularly excited about the jewels and the glitter spray! And yep, Mr. N is definitely the perfect little brave knight. They had so much fun!

  23. ChgoJohn says:

    Let me be the 3rd to echo how cute your sous chefs are! And your pumpkin risotto couldn’t look any more tasty. This was definitely a sweet & savory post!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks John! It’s easily one of my favorite risotto recipes – especially in the fall. Oh who am I kidding, I haven’t met a risotto that I didn’t like! ;)

  24. rsmacaalay says:

    I agree with Kay, those kids are so cute, Love the photos!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks! They had a blast that evening. Miss A is still pretty new to the whole trick-or-treating thing, but she got the hang of it pretty quickly. :) And Mr. N was like a blur – he ran from one house to the next!

  25. Awwwww you guys are too cute. I love the Pumpkin Risotto.. and I completely love how you can customize this dish into whatever you like. And the kids also look cute.. Miss A is definitely working her princess outfit and Mr N is totally the knight in “shining” armour. Love this post.. and I’m so happy i got electric back lol

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Kay! This is easily one of our fall favorites. We’ve tried to get the kids to try it with us, but they’re not huge fans (yet!). ;) Besides, we don’t mind keeping this one all to ourselves anyway. It certainly wasn’t a stretch for Miss A to play the princess – you should have seen her sparkly silver shoes too!

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