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Pumpkin risotto with Gorgonzola, bacon, & sage

September 18, 2014

Pumpkin risotto with Gorgonzola, bacon, and sage

(A thousand apologies for this picture — risotto has got to be one of the most unphotogenic foods in the world!  Plus we ate dinner really late, so the light was bad.)

I love pumpkin desserts, but they rarely seem to call for using an entire can of pumpkin puree.  This risotto is a great way to use up whatever’s left in the can after making your pies, cakes, or muffins.

Pumpkin risotto with Gorgonzola, bacon, & sage

serves 4 as a first course, or 2 as a main dish

4 to 6 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1-1/3 c. short- to medium-grain risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, baldo, etc.)
2 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 c. yellow onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage, divided
a splash of dry white wine
1/4 to 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (I only used about 1/4 c, but use more for a more pronounced flavor)
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. crumbled Gorgonzola, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped, for serving (optional)

Put the broth in a medium saucepan, cover with a lid, and bring to a simmer.  In a large dry skillet set over medium heat, toast the rice until it starts to smell slightly nutty and the grains become slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Take care not to burn the rice.  Remove the rice to a bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to the burner and cook 2 slices of the bacon over medium heat, until crisp.  Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the fat inside the pan.  Crumble the bacon and set aside.  Saute onion and 1 Tbsp. minced sage in the bacon fat until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes.  Add a splash of white wine and scrape the brown bits from bottom of the pan.  When the wine has mostly evaporated, add pumpkin puree and cook, stirring, until the pumpkin softens and fully combines with the onion and sage.  Add the toasted rice to the pan and stir to combine.

Flatten the rice & pumpkin mixture around the pan with the back of a wooden spoon, then add enough broth to cover the rice (up to 1 c).  Gently push the rice around the pan with the spoon, making sure that there are no dry spots sticking to the pan.  Once the broth has been mostly absorbed, flatten the rice in the pan with the back of the spoon, then add another 1-2 ladles full of broth, enough to just cover the rice.  Continue to gently push the rice around the pan while the broth absorbs.  Continue on in this manner — pushing the rice around the pan, adding broth once the previous addition has absorbed, and flattening the rice in the pan before each addition of broth — until your risotto has reached the desired consistency.  (A note about risotto consistency: in northern Italy, the rice is cooked until al dente, and the risotto has a thicker, more “standing” consistency.  In the US, and for all I know maybe other parts of Italy, risotto is cooked down a little bit more, until it spreads on the plate when served.  This makes Flavio’s soul weep.  We only use about 4 c. broth when making risotto, but if you cook yours longer you may need the full 6 c.)

Once the risotto has reached your desired consistency, season to taste with salt & pepper.  Remove from heat, stir in 2 Tbsp. butter and 1/4 c. crumbled Gorgonzola, and adjust seasoning to taste.  Garnish each serving with reserved crumbled bacon, crumbled Gorgonzola, minced fresh sage, and coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (if desired).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2014 1:08 pm

    I will be adding that to my list. I love pumpkin and everything else in that recipe. I don’t think I even knew Gorgonzola cheese existed until I was 29 (I was a late bloomer) – all those years wasted.

    • whitney marie permalink*
      September 23, 2014 1:07 pm

      Haha, well, I didn’t beat you by much! I think the first time I ever had Gorgonzola was around 2010/2011, when I was about 26. It was in my favorite potato soup recipe (potato, gorgonzola, rosemary, and sometimes I add a little bacon). So yum! I like that it’s not quite as strong as some blue cheeses. I like the funk, but not too much! 🙂

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