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.
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.
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