pumpkin sage risotto

I have a goal this year.  Well, this week.  And next week.  To finally…FINALLY, post a decent amount of holiday recipes before the actual holiday.  Starting today, it’s going to be a Thanksgiving fest over here.  I must warn you.  You may see a lot of orange, you won’t see gluten, and you won’t see anything that previously said “gobble gobble.”

But I also must warn you that once you read on you won’t care about the above facts in the least.  Whether you eat gluten, meat, or orange food, my goal is to create recipes that have you running to your kitchen.

What you’ll find below, is not a Thanksgiving staple.  It’s not something I’ve made before, or even had made for me.  It was an idea that popped in my head after thinking about the combination of pumpkin + sage.  Sage is a completely underutilized herb in my cooking.  Jessica’s current obsession, rekindled my love for this amazing herb.

While this may not be a Thanksgiving staple anyone in the family is used to, I promise there will be no leftovers.

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I think I’ve only actually made risotto once before.  You always hear how the process is such a pain.  It takes a long time to cook and all that stirring!  Risotto always seems intimidating, but I can tell you it’s actually quite easy, as long as you have the time to sit by the stove.  This isn’t a dish I would make too often, because it acquires your full attention, but that is what makes it so special.

This is the kind of dish that needs some loving.  It’s the kind of dish that makes you appreciate food and the process of cooking.  I actually enjoyed cooking this more than most things, because I was involved in the simple process, the entire time.

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Not only was this my first time making pumpkin risotto, but it was my first time using ghee.  Ghee is a type of clarified butter, which you can easily make or buy.  I recently received an offer from Swanson Health Products, to pick $25 worth of items from their website.  One item I chose was ghee, which I couldn’t wait to get my grubby paws on.

There are many things to say about ghee, but we’ll leave that for another post.

The one thing you should note.

ghee > butter

You can tell it’s creamier + silkier than butter, just by the photo below.

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And please don’t mind my plate + bowl switching.  I just couldn’t make up my mind.

First it was in a bowl, then on a plate, then back in the bowl.

Creamy, orange rice, is not the most photogenic of things.

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So back to this whole risotto and Thanksgiving thing.

I want to trap the aroma that was wafting from my kitchen and bottle it up.  Maybe turn it into a candle?

I’ll name it: Pure Fall Goodness

Because that was what my kitchen smelled like.  Which I fully blame on the sage.

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To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to turn out.  My thought was that the pumpkin would turn this classic dish into a pile of mush.  I thought it would cover up the creaminess that is risotto.

Luckily, I thought wrong.

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This was everything a risotto should be and then some.  No pile of mush to be found.

As soon as the first bite hit my lips, even before the rice was fully cooked, I touched my chest, looked to the ceiling [noticed one of our lights was out] and said “mmmm.”  I was so completely thrilled with this recipe, I bombarded everyone that was in the “green” status on my gchat list.  Apologies to you all.

But, I’m claiming this one of the top 5 dishes I’ve ever made, so it was worth the dramatic, love-gush I had for it.

The simple, comforting flavor + rich, creamy texture will leave you scraping every bowl, plate, utensil + pan until they are sparkling clean.

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Pumpkin Sage Risotto [adapted from foodnetwork.com] serves 4-6

  • 1c arborio rice
  • 3-4c vegetable broth
  • 1/2c dry white wine
  • 1T sunflower oil
  • 2.5T clarified butter/ghee
  • 3/4c onion, diced
  • 1c pumpkin puree
  • 1.5T fresh sage, chopped
  • 2t garlic, minced
  • 1/4-3/4t salt
  • toasted walnuts/parmesan/fried sage
  1. In a large pan, over medium heat, melt 1T ghee with 1T oil.
  2. Add onion and cook 4-6min, until soft, stirring frequently.
  3. Add rice, fresh sage + garlic, and cook for another 1min, stirring constantly.
  4. Add wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed.
  5. Add pumpkin and stir slowly + constantly for about 3-5min until thickened.
  6. Add in 1c veggie stock, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed.  ~5-7min
  7. Repeat step 6, 3 times, stirring and waiting for liquid to absorb each time.
  8. After the 3c of stock is absorbed, taste test to see if the rice is cooked enough.  It should have a slight al dente bite.
  9. If it’s not quite done, add 1/2c more stock, stirring until liquid is absorbed.
  10. Taste again and repeat step 9 if the rice still isn’t done.
  11. Once the rice is cooked all the way, stir in the remaining 1.5T ghee and salt + pepper to taste.
  12. The end result should not look wet, but very thick and creamy.
  13. Serve immediately and top with toasted walnuts, shaved parmesan, and fried sage leaves [as desired].

substitutions + things to note:

I used a no sodium veggie broth and needed to add about 3/4t total salt.  To play it safe, wait until it’s done cooking, then taste and add salt to your liking.  Instead of clarified butter/ghee, you can sub 3T butter and stir in 2T at the end.  To veganize, use Earth Balance instead of butter.  Instead of white wine you can sub 2T lemon juice + 6T veggie broth.  I used a no sodium veggie broth and needed to add about 3/4t total salt.  Baby bella mushrooms would be a great addition.  Feel free to sub sweet potato puree, or any orange squash puree instead of pumpkin.

Fried Sage Leaves

  • 1-2T ghee
  • handful of sage leaves
  1. In a small pan or pot, heat the ghee [or 1.5-3T butter] over medium/med. high heat.
  2. When hot, drop the sage in stirring until crisp and golden brown. ~1-3min
  3. Carefully remove and set on a paper towel to absorb excess grease.
  4. Crumble and add as a topping, or leave as whole leaves.

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Quick tip!  If you don’t feel like buying a whole bottle of white wine just for this recipe, try out a mini box that will run you about $4.  If you’ve never had Bota Box wine before, I highly recommend it.  Don’t knock the box til’ you try it!

This Pinot Grigio was dry + crisp.  The perfect risotto wine!

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Next on the list.  Stuffing!  This is my favorite Thanksgiving dish, so I’m working hard on this one!

I wanted to thank you guys for all of the congrats, good luck wishes, and support I received on Monday’s post.  It means so much!!  I also really enjoyed hearing your feedback on which photo you liked best and why.  Thank. YOU!!

Off to catch some sleep.