Pumpkin, Brie and Prosciutto Risotto

by Kelly on January 10, 2011

The first time I ever made risotto was for a boy, and not just any boy, but the first boy I’d ever cooked for. EVER.  It’s funny how a memory of a meal can transport you back to a different place and time, how it conjures up feelings in such a way that you can almost imagine what it was like to be in front of the stove as that younger, earlier version of yourself.

I was 22 then, and while I liked being in the kitchen, my cooking skills were still in their infancy, resulting in a mix bag of triumphs and flops.  Most of the things that are so natural and ingrained in my cooking now had yet to be discovered.

I’d carefully planned the meal – Walnut Risotto with Roasted Asparagus, Caprese Salad, and for dessert, Chocolate Mousse.  Looking back, I wonder if it occured to me how ambitious it was given my abilities at the time?  I did take the day off work to cook and prep, so I suspect I had at least a faint sense.  Still, I’m almost amazed I pulled it off.

But the risk paid off and its reward was a deep love….

…but not with a man, but with rice.  If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, I am sure you anticipated that.  Unfortunately whatever skills I possess in the kitchen I lack in the romance department.

But until Mr. Right comes along I’m content with my love affair with risotto.  What won me over at first bite has remained one of my favorite meals to cook and eat.  I know risotto has a bit of a reputation (or so I’ve heard of) of being high maintenance.  However, I actually enjoy all the stirring.  It’s mindless and actually relaxing, perfect for a Saturday with an open agenda.  That’s exactly what I did this weekend.

My version combines fresh pumpkin with salty prosciutto and a bit of Brie to add a hint of indulgence and play up the risotto’s creaminess.

PumpkinrisottoI also used homemade ham stock in place of the more traditional chicken stock to make the risotto.  You could certainly use chicken or vegetable stock as they are easier to find, but I loved the pork stock in this.  It strongly played up the flavor of the prosciutto and gave the dish a nice meaty flavor.

Pumpkinrisotto-2So enough about what went into it, how did it taste?  As good as my first bite of risotto five years ago.  I loved how the sweetness of the pumpkin and the saltiness and savoriness of the prosciutto.  And the Brie, ah what isn’t better with Brie.  So in other words, the whole thing was delectable and oh so worth making.

Pumpkin, Brie and Prosciutto Risotto
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 6

Ingredients:

-2 cups cubed peeled fresh pumpkin (about 1 pound)
-3 cups ham stock (or alternatively low-sodium chicken broth)
-Cooking spray
-2 cups finely chopped onion
-1 large garlic clove minced
-1 cup uncooked Arborio or other short grain rice
-1 cup dry white wine
-2 tablespoons rindless Brie (such as Alouette brand)
-Salt to taste
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper

Method:

Cook pumpkin either by steaming it on the stovetop, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender or by placing it in a microwave save dish with 1/4 cup of water, covered for 4 minutes or until tender. Drain if necessary and set aside.

Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add rice; sauté 1 minute.

Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add warm broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 18 minutes total).

Stir in pumpkin; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet January 10, 2011 at 7:17 am

What an interesting flavor combo. I think I’d absolutely love it. You can never go wrong with pumpkin and brie! And risotto is probably one of my favorite dishes.

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Liz @ Blog is the New Black January 10, 2011 at 8:20 am

This looks awseome- interesting mix of flavors!!

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Bethany January 10, 2011 at 8:39 am

This looks rich and WONDERFUL. Love pumpkin in savory dishes.

And I also love how different foods can transport you into long lost memories — and yes, what an ambitious menu for your first time cooking for the boy!!

Risotto does have a bad rep, but I feel like it’s mostly undeserved. Time consuming? Yes. For sure. But high-maintenance? No way! If you can stir a pot, you can make risotto.

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Lauren January 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

Kelly, this risotto sounds absolutely delicious! I recently made (and will be posting soon) mac & cheese with sweet potato puree and brie, and it reawakened my love of the creamy and rich cheese.

The pumpkin sounds like the perfect addition!

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Victoria January 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

I am so with you. I love some risotto, and I kind of like the mindless stirring too.

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Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen January 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Oh my GOLL. I’ve never made “real” risotto, but I might have to adapt this to my easy (fake-out) bulgur risotto.

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Carolyn Jung January 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Not THAT must have been a special boy to deserve a special dish of risotto. Your version with pumpkin and ham stock sounds outstanding, too.

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5 Star Foodie January 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm

This risotto sounds quite heavenly! I love the additions of brie and prosciutto, so delicious!

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sophia January 11, 2011 at 2:53 am

Wow you made this for a man? I’m surprised he didn’t ask for your hand that very day.

I adore risotto, though I don’t make it often. I love the addition of pumpkin and smooth brie and salty prosciutto!

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CaSaundra January 11, 2011 at 8:57 am

Love the little story you tied in with this recipe! They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and you sure have the cooking skills to lure one into your kitchen! :-)

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Jen H January 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This sounds amazing! Will have to go on my list of things to try this year.

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Mary January 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Oh, I can already tell I’m going to love this. It looks gorgeous and anything that beautiful simply has to be delicious. I hope you have a wonderful evening. Blessings…Mary

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River (Wing-It Vegan) January 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I hope that boy was appreciative of all the cooking that you did for him! Did he devour the whole dinner in five minutes, like most boys do? ;)

I love me some risotto, but for some silly reason I don’t make it very often.

To answer your question, the Roastaroma tea was $2.69 plus shipping (can’t remember how much it was, I think $7?) for a box of 20 tea bags, and the 4.4 ounce jar of Pero was $6.99 at Whole Foods. I will be buying a big case of Roastaroma next time, shipping is way too expensive for one little box of tea!

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Shannon January 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

what a great memory! and fabulous combination here, especially with the pork stock!

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Cara January 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

What a fancy shmancy combination! Those boys are missin’ out, I tell ya. Then again the ones who truly appreciate these things are hard to come by – I’d be content to share this with my girlfriends :)

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Kerstin January 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Oh, this just sounds divine. Your flavor combos always make my mouth water. Risotto is one of our favorites too :)

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Hannah January 17, 2011 at 11:31 am

What a wonderfully comforting dish. I’m thinking that prepared with mushroom stock and maybe some faux-feta, this could be a big hit in my household… ;)

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