Pumpkin and Pistachio Risotto

By: Jeff B.

This elegant combination of creamy golden rice and orange pumpkin can be as pale or bright as you like by adding different quantities of saffron. Who doesn’t love cooking with saffron and, better yet, this recipe cleans out the frozen pumpkin left over from Halloween and Colorado Grown. Please be careful, this risotto recipe is likely to be a stepping stone to booking a spring trip to Northern Italy.

Serves 4

5 cups fresh vegetable stock or water
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb Arborio rice
2 lbs pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ in cubes
¾ cup dry white wine
½ oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ cup pistachios
3 tbsps chopped fresh marjoram or oregano, plus extra leaves, to garnish
Salt, freshly grated nutmeg and ground black pepper

  1. Bring the stock or water to a boil and reduce to low simmer. Ladle a little stock into a small bowl. Add the saffron threads and leave to infuse.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice and pumpkin and cook for a few more minutes until the rice looks transparent.
  3. Pour in the wine and allow it to boil hard. When it is absorbed add ¼ of the stock and the infused saffron and liquid. Stir constantly until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Gradually add the stock or water, a ladleful at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more and stirring all the time. After 20-30 minutes the rice should golden yellow and creamy, and al dente when tested.
  5. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, cover the pan and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  6. To finish, stir in the pistachios and marjoram or oregano. Season to taste with a little salt, nutmeg and pepper and scatter over a few extra marjoram or oregano leaves.