This is not at all a sweet risotto — it’s really the savory side of pumpkin. I used homemade stock, which considerably cuts costs and improves the flavor. The goat cheese is optional, but J. and I both agreed that the tanginess of the cheese really balanced out the dish.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, diced, white and light green parts only
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (we buy ours in bulk)
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 cups pumpkin puree (I used fresh roasted pumpkin and pureed it with a tablespoon of olive oil for smoothness; you could certainly use canned)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
salt and pepper, to taste
a few ounces of crumbled goat cheese (optional)
In a wide, deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and leave warming over very low heat. Add the leeks to the butter and saute for 3-4 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the liquid is nearly absorbed.
Add a cup of the stock and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the liquid is nearly absorbed. From this point on, you’ll just repeat the process, adding 1/2-3/4 of a cup of stock at a time, stirring, and letting the rice absorb the stock. It should take about 20 minutes or so for the rice to cook this way. As you add the last 1/2 cup of stock to the rice, stir in the pumpkin puree, salt and pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Let the risotto cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s slightly thickened and the rice is cooked (it should be soft but still have a little bite to it, like al dente pasta — you don’t want it to be mushy). Add the sage and stir; if you’ve used canned pumpkin, I’d also add a tablespoon of olive oil at this point for richness and a little fruity flavor. Serve with a green salad. We liked some crumbled goat cheese over the top of our risotto.