Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Recipe: Summer Pumpkin Risotto

This risotto with pumpkin is lightened up for summertime with fresh mint, ginger, and lemony coriander seeds.

summer pumpkin on a table

Photo: Helen Kopp

My Uncle Hal gave me this gorgeous blonde pumpkin. He had an early pumpkin harvest this year. He has all colors, but I really like this pale pumpkin. It seems summery and whimsical to me.

When friends and family give me produce from their gardens, I want to make something really special with it to express my gratitude. Even though it’s summertime, I’ve had risotto on my mind.

I’ve also been planning my 2010 Thanksgiving Dinner as if I’m hosting, though that hasn’t been discussed yet. I think it’s inevitable. I digress.

I made risotto with the pumpkin, and lightened the dish up for summertime with fresh mint, ginger, and lemony coriander seeds. It was fantastic!

Summer Pumpkin Risotto

a bowl of pumpkin risotto

Photo: Helen Kopp

Risotto doesn’t require butter or cheese to be decadent. The rich, creamy texture comes from stirring the starch out of the rice. The roasted pumpkin makes this risotto even creamier.

Ingredients (serves 2 with leftovers):

  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, bruised
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups hot homemade vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper (you decide how much, but be generous with the sea salt throughout this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoon fresh mint, chiffonaded (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 cups chunks of oven-roasted pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup pureed roasted pumpkin
  • handful of fresh spinach
  • 3 tablespoons salty-sweet toasted seeds (recipe follows)

Directions:

  1. Heat homemade broth in a small pot and keep warm on the stove.
  2. Heat margarine and oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add scallions, garlic and salt to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add rice, Chinese five-spice, coriander seeds, and nutmeg, and stir until the rice is well coated and opaque. Add wine, and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Add one ladle of hot broth and stir slowly and continuously with your wooden spoon until the liquid is pretty much absorbed. It helps to think good, absorbing thoughts while massaging the rice with the spoon – I swear!
  4. Add another ladle of broth. Stir until absorbed. Repeat until the broth is gone and/or the rice tastes cooked with a very slight bite. It should be soft, but not mush! It should also be runny enough to ooze to the edges of a plate, but not soup. At this point, stir in S&P, nutritional yeast, pureed pumpkin, fresh grated ginger, fresh mint, chunks of roasted pumpkin, and spinach, stir, and let cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Serve garnished with salty-sweet toasted seeds and more fresh mint.

Salty-Sweet Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Place 3 tbsp raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds in a dry pan on medium-low heat.
  2. Toast until slightly brown and nutty, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning.
  3. Drizzle with a few drops of soy sauce and agave nectar.
  4. Remove seeds from pan to cool, so the glaze hardens.
Helen Kopp

Helen Kopp is a writer and triathlete living in Atlanta, Georgia. She majored in English and Spanish at the University of Georgia. Her favorite things are art, food, language, running, and the ocean. Helen grew up on a small farm in rural Georgia, where she developed her appreciation for whole plant foods and simplicity. She loves sharing the healthy side of Southern cuisine with friends and family, and through her blog Why I Consume Art.

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