My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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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.

(7 of 12)
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.

(2 of 6)
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] 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!

(5 of 6)
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.


Reader Comments (69)

I am in LOVE with this recipe!!!
I've never made risotto with the traditional method before but I think that needs to be changed immediately.
Do you think this would also taste good with sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin? I have a pumpkin "hater" at home ;)

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Yum Ashley!! Love the pumpkin and sage combo. This looks like it would be a great dish to take to a Thanksgiving themed potluck!

This sounds heavenly! Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to make when I'm stressed. It's involved and yet so relaxing...especially with a glass of wine on the side. My hubby is a def pumpkin lover so I'm excited to try this version him. :) Thanks for another great recipe Ashley!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBalancing Sylvia

This sounds delicious! I'm going to try this but am thinking about browning the butter before I throw in the sage leaves. Nothing takes a delicious dish to the next level like browned butter (and it pairs really well with sage).

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

One of my favorite dishes my husband has ever made for me was pumpkin ravioli with a sage-butter sauce. This sounds like a gluten free version of that, and has me very excited. Now, to just get him to make it for me! :) Can't wait to try it.

I have cornbread stuffing in the works for tomorrow as a pre-Thanksgiving trial run--is that what you are planning too?

I love that you have risotto wine :)

And posting recipes BEFORE the actual holiday..yes, as bloggers we get to make at least two holiday meals..the ones we post about before the holidays and then the meals we actually make for the real holiday. The timetable and ahead-of-curve stuff took a mere two+ years for me to get used to!


November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIzzy

I've never cooked with ghee but I hear good things. This looks delicious!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

I love that the box of wine says approximately 3 glasses of wine. Aaaand I would just sit on my couch with the box in hand. No glass neccessary. Just sayin'.

But this looks awesome! And can you believe I don't think I've ever really had sage before?

I love, love, love a good risotto and especially love pumpkin and sage. Definitely on the must-make list for this week!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabby @ Gabby's Gluten Free

I don't think I have really had sage or experimented with it...will have to get some next time I am at the store!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizAshlee

The title alone got me excited! Looks fab :D

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren @ What Lauren Likes

I loooove risotto - adding pumpkin is just taking something good and making it great :). I definitely want to try this.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCait's Plate

It's been far too long since I made risotto. The combination of pumpkin and sage sounds so good - perfect for fall/winter!

Looking forward to all of your holiday recipes!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

YUM, YUM, YUM! I am a major pumpkin fan and a risotto fiend, make it all the time. I have a recipe for butternut squash risotto that I have made with fresh sage, I don't know why it never occurred to me to make pumpkin risotto! I will be making this very soon!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonya

I forgot, I am also a HUGE fan of fresh sage. The flavor it lends to dishes (instead of dried sage) cannot be beat!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonya

ghee is amazing! this look delicious! bring on the recipesss :)

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFelicia (Natural + Balanced)

Looks yum! A tip I learned from my husband so the risotto won't take AS long... Start with hot stock! He keeps one saucepan of risotto going and another of simmering stock, and then ladles in the simmering stock. Since you are introducing the same temp liquid it doesn't take as long :)

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarly Milbert

Yum. With sage and toasted walnuts... Delisciouness! I like you comment, " as soon as the first bite hit my lips..." cute.

That's a great tip Carly! Thanks! :)

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

It's such a great herb! It's a very smooth flavor...not like basil or cilantro which have a bit more bite.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Kind of unnecessary to clean a glass when you can drink it right from the little carton!! You must try sage!! Jessica has a slew of recipes that use it.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

better.than.butter. :)

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Your one word comment put a huge smile on my face!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort meals and one of the first "real" meals I made to share with friends. It takes a lot of work but is always worth it. And ghee- I need to get more but I used to cook with it quite often. It's so amazing isnt it!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatie @KatieDid

I may try a cornbread stuffing, but I'm working on a more traditional recipe too, using an herb quick bread. Yummm

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Definitely relaxing!! Hope you both like the recipe!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Yes!! I meant to mention that in the substitution area, but forgot. Sweet potato puree or any other orange squash puree would work!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Whoa! I can't wait to make this. I was thinking of doing a vegan green bean casserole for Thanksgiving, but I might just have to swap it for this. Or maybe I'll just eat this everyday leading up to Thanksgiving. Thanks for explaining how to make those crispy sage leaves- they taste so good, but I wasn't sure how to achieve the crispness and was a bit intimidated.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRedhead in the Kitchen

This recipe looks fantastic. Lots of flavor in those ingredients.
I've been meaning to pick up ghee from the store but never see it on the shelves. Sounds like a great product from what I've heard.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEvan Thomas

I would say this is far superior to grean bean casserole. ;) Although you could definitely throw green beans and mushrooms in the mix! They would both work really well in this. I know what you mean about the crispy sage leaves. I love that it just takes 1-3min for them to crisp up!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

There is something about pumpkin and sage that go together so well. This looks like it definitely deserves the love fest! Never tried ghee, but want to now :)

I have never made risotto, but I need to try it. I love that it's pumpkin, yum, yum, yum!!

Ashley you have done it again! Another amazing recipe! When you do make a candle out of this amazing fragrance...please send one to me!! I havE the candle obsession!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ Jess Go Bananas

I love both pumpkin and butternut squash risotto and your recipe looks great. The only thing I would mention is that if you have a pressure cooker it's well worth making it in there, only a little stirring and less cooking time :) Lorna Sass has a great winter squash risotto recipe in great vegetarian cooking under pressure--one of my favorite cook books!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Just in time, I'm getting my Thanksgiving recipes together. And it's possible to make vegan ghee out of margarine! With these glowing reviews I don't know if I can resist.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaitlyn@TheTieDyeFIles

I will forever love things with pumpkin in them. It automatically wins comfort points! I always eye the ghee at the store but never buy it. I should probably do that someday.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I love pumpkin and I love sage...the only risotto I have eaten has been made for me...this looks like something I may have to tackle in my kitchen!

Hmmm...I've been meaning to make butternut squash/sage risotto and I'm so glad you posted this as a reminder, because I keep forgetting!

Have you heard of The Modern Vegetarian cookbook? It's great! There is a risotto in there made with part quinoa/arborio with butternut squash, sage, and cayenne roasted pepitas on top. So freaking good!

Carnaroli rice is my favorite for risotto, it doesn't get quite as sticky as arborio. I've found it in specialty shops!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura (Blogging Over Thyme)

Plate, doesn't matter. I want it. I also really need to get myself a tub of ghee to play with. Can't wait for you to post about it!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

that looks absolutely delicious... I can't wait to see your Thanksgiving recipes !

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteremilie

Fried sage leaves!?!?! Mmmmmmmm.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeLsey

oh my gosh ashley! this is a must-make...if not before TG then SOON!!!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternatalie (the sweets life)

Pumpkin and sage is one combo I just will never get sick of. Looks awesome!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa @ Simple Eats

Pumpkin and sage is one of my all-time favorite flavor combos! I'm going to have to try this very soon.

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Sometimes I crave fried sage. MMMM, with pumpkin risotto, delightful! Looks fantastic!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ Garden Gastronomy

Seriously - get this in my kitchen!!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

You must try ghee!!

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Yes! I have seen that. That risotto sounds fantastic!

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Totally worth the buy!

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

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