Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's Fall! Pumkin Risotto with Brussels Sprouts

It's Fall! And while in San Francisco, that means weather that most people think feels like summer and leaves that don't turn any colors at all, it still makes me want to eat Fall foods like pumpkin, squash, brussels sprouts and lasagna. Yummmmmm. My sister emailed me a recipe for simple pumpkin risotto a few weeks ago and I decided to give it a try. Learning from my past experience making Risotto with Radicchio and Portobello Mushrooms, I thought I would top this dense, creamy dish with bitter, crispy brussels sprouts. A Fall food match made in heaven!

First set up the brussels sprouts. Cut the bottom of the stem off each sprout and clean off the outer leaves. Slice each sprout into at least three slices. In a mixing bowl, toss the sprouts with a little olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a few shakes of salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes and nutritional yeast. Place the sprouts on a large baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Now make the risotto.

The risotto recipe is pretty much the usual one, with a few additions:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves, garlic
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
6 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 can pumpkin
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

Heat all of the vegetable broth in a pot until hot, but not boiling. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large pan, then add onion and garlic and cook 2 minutes or so. Add the rice and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and stir to scrape everything off the bottom of the pan. Add all of the broth, a little bit at a time, all the while stirring the rice. By the time all of the broth has been absorbed, the rice should be cooked and al dente. Always taste the rice several times during the process. If you need more liquid, that's fine. If you don't use all of it, that's fine too. Just stop when the rice tastes right. Lastly, mix in the lemon juice, pumpkin, yeast and salt and pepper.

Serve the pumpkin risotto topped with brussels sprouts and garnish with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds. This dish could not possibly get any better. This now beats out all other risotto recipes I've ever tasted. I know I've said this before, but I cannot say enough good things about the mixture of thick, rich, creamy risotto and something crisp and bitter. The brussels sprouts are THE perfect topping for this. So light a fire, bundle up, and make some pumpkin risotto! That is, unless you are in San Francisco. Then you should open all your windows, put on a tee shirt and make it anyway.


  1. Oven roasted brussels sprouts are my favorite!! Those crispy outer leaves...I always add a couple cloves of garlic in to roast, too (you would add 5), but I can see how that would overpower this dish.

  2. Below is my recipe for Pumpkin Sage Risotto. It's totally yummy. I'm looking forward to trying yours!


    1 can of pumpkin
    3 T olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    1 onion or 2 shallots
    3 cups risotto rice
    1/4 cup white wine
    5 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
    2 T lemon juice
    1 t dried sage
    2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
    Salt and pepper to taste

    If you want to serve it right away, heat up the pumpkin in the microwave before adding it at the end. (You're supposed to use 1 lb. of fresh pumpkin and roast it, blah, blah, blah, but I just use canned pumpkin.)

    Heat up the oil in the pan, and add the onion/shallot and garlic. Stir for about one minute.
    Add the risotto, and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
    Add the wine, and then a ladleful (about 1 cup) of the stock. Stir and watch for the stock to become fully absorbed.
    Add lemon juice and sage.
    Then add more stock, and do the same thing until all of the stock is gone. This should take 20-25 minutes. It should have a creamy consistency, and the risotto should have an al dente texture to it.
    Stir in the pumpkin, and parmesan cheese.