Pumpkin Risotto, aka Bringing Down the Zebra

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Pumpkin Risotto, aka Bringing Down the Zebra

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Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a stay-at-home-mom. Every night she had a delicious dinner on the table by 5:00 when my step-dad got home from work.  She was awesome at it. On the other hand, my best friend’s used to say that her mother cooked once a week/month and “brought down the zebra.” By bringing down the zebra, she was referring to the fact that the family would be able feed off of the one meal for a week. Now, I would love to be like my mom and have something unique and different every night. However, reality dictates that I have to “bring down the zebra.”

Last weekend, I had a bunch of leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin cheesecake brownies and stumbled across a recipe for pumpkin risotto. Risotto is actually surprisingly easy to make and will feed you for a few days. To jazz it up a little, I added in some garam masala and some Italian sausage (Husband likes meals with meat even though I could very happily be a selective vegetarian). Many Indian and Italian grandmothers would freak out because of this meal, but I think it’s delightful. Here’s the dish:

Garama Masala Risotto


3 Spicy Italian turkey sausages
1.5 c Arborio rice
5 c-ish of chicken stock
1 c pumpkin puree
2 Tb butter
1.5 c diced onion
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp garam masala (you can get it at some grocery stores or Indian spice markets)
2 tsp garlic powder (you can use less if you’re not a garlic fiend like me)
1/4 tsp each of thyme, ginger, dried parsley, and celery seed
3 Tb heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

  1. In a separate pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausages just enough to crisp the casings. Take them off of the heat and slice them width wise to make disks. Brown the disks then set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a preheated skillet over medium heat. Sautee the onions and garlic for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a sauce pan.
  3. Once the onions and garlic have become fragrant, add the rice and coat with the butter, garlic and onion mixture.
  4. Dump in the pumpkin and the spices, stirring all the while.
  5. Start adding in the chicken stock one ladle-full at a time. Add a new ladle or two once the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Make sure that you’re stirring it a lot. The stirring helps release the starches in the rice. It’s a gradual process and you may use more or less stock, depending on the level of doneness you like. Husband and I enjoy our risotto to be a bit more “done” than others. If you like yours a little more al dente, use less stock and less stirring.
  6. Once your rice is at the doneness level you prefer, pull it off the heat and stir in the cream and Parmesan cheese.  You can either top the risotto with the sausages, or mix them in like I did. Either way is great!
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