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Pumpkin Risotto


1 ½ pounds Zucca di Mantova, halved crosswise and seeded
1 liter vegetable or chicken stock
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
6 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly white ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mush it with a fork. Set aside half of the puree. You can freeze the other half in a plastic bag or air-tight container for another risotto.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm up the stock.
  3. In a different large saucepan heat 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chopped onion and sage and sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add the rice and stir thoroughly for about 3 minutes, in order to coat the rice well with the butter and onions.
  4. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add 1-2 soup ladles of the stock at a time until the rice is just covered, and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. When the stock is almost completely absorbed, repeat this process for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the squash and cook for about 2 minutes. The end of the cooking is critical for the final texture of the dish, so when the rice is nearly tender to the bite, but with just a hint of resistance (al dente), and the liquid you have added up to this point has been mostly absorbed (the risotto should seem a bit “soupy”), add the Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  6. Remove your risotto from the heat. At this point, stir the risotto vigorously to blend in the cheese and butter. You can also add some salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let it stand for 1 or 2 minutes and serve immediately (plan your timing well – it is very easy to overcook risotto!).