Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Risotto for Pumpkin Carving

Good Evening Kittens!

While I did not attend any costume parties this year, I did go to a pumpkin carving on Sunday.  My friend Brianne hosted a fall-inspired pot luck where we also carved jack-o-lanterns.  Such a fun time!  I haven't carved a pumpkin in years and while you will see, I am NOT the most creative carver there is, it was still a fabulous way to spend an evening!

First, let's start with the risotto.  I had come across many recipes for pumpkin risotto on Pinterest and very quickly decided that I would make one of them as my contribution to the pot luck.  After considering the reviews and then looking at how involved some of the recipes were, I decided on one that I found on and made a few adjustments.

-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-3/4 pound pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
-2 medium white onions, roughly chopped
-1 cup dry white wine
-1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
-7 cups organic vegetable broth
-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 1/2 arborio rice
-3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
-1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-salt and white pepper to taste, if you only have black pepper, just go with it

1.  Heat the oil in a medium pan.  Add the pumpkin or butternut squash and half the onions, stirring frequently.

2.  Cook over medium-high heat until the pumpkin is just tender.  Add the wine, nutmeg, some salt and pepper until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

3.  While the pumpkin is cooking, take the rest of the onions and chop finely using a food processor.  (I figured since I had to use it for a later step, and wanted a smoother risotto, that I would save myself the trouble of crying and chopping.)

4.  In a large saucepan heat the vegetable broth.

5.  In a large saucepan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and rice.  Cook until the rice takes on a slight color.

6.  Add one cup of the heated broth, stirring continuously until the liquid is absorbed.  Reduce the heat and add three more cups of broth, one cup at a time, and continue stirring until the liquid is absorbed before adding more liquid.

7.  Place the pumpkin and onion mixture into the food processor and puree until smooth.

8.  Add the pumpkin puree to the risotto and mix well.

9.  One cup at a time, add the remaining three cups of liquid to the risotto, stirring frequently.  (As an aside, make sure you have a really big pan...I had to transfer pans half way through the process since the original recipe stated I only needed a medium saucepan.  Liars!)

10.  Stir in the parsley, the Parmesan, and the remaining butter if desired (I didn't add the additional butter, but might try it the next time I make this.).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Perhaps next time, I will also add some rosemary!

While this dish can be kinda messy to make, it cleans up pretty good!

Also, you will want to allot plenty of time to make this dish.  I planned poorly and ended up running out the door the second this dish was done to get to the little soirée.  The other Ladies made an Israeli couscous salad with squash, broccoli, toasted almonds, and red grapes.  It was DELICIOUS!!!

Also on the menu were fennel, onion, mushroom, and goat cheese pockets.  Addicting!

Once we fueled ourselves, we set our sights on the pumpkins and the task at hand.

Step 1 - Make sure the bubbly is flowing.

Step 2 - Make sure everyone is dressed appropriately.

We all got to work on our pumpkins and it was magical.

I knew I didn't have time to get too intricate with my pumpkin as I was on a time crunch, so I went with a super simple carving.  I wanted to carve a version of the classic jack-o-lantern pail that we used for trick-or-treating as kids, but I forgot the teeth.  Sad panda.

I received a photo of how the girls' pumpkins turned out.  SO great!

And no matter how old you get, essentially everyone I know has proven that you are never too old to carve a jack-o-lantern.  Here are the three that Bridget and her husband carved over the weekend.

If you haven't yet carved your jack-o-lanterns, you've got a few hours left!  Get thee a pumpkin!

Happy Carving and Pot Lucking Kittens!

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