I used to think cinnamon and brown sugar were reserved to enhance the flavor of only sweet meals. These past few weeks however I have discovered that enhancing the flavors of pumpkin or squash by adding sugar will make the natural sweetness of the pumpkin come through even more. And as if that wasn’t a major discovery already I learned that risotto tastes a lot better when it’s orange, naturally colored with nothing else but soft chunks of brown sugar roasted pumpkin fresh from the oven.
Hot and all caramelized on top the pumpkin flesh is delicate and soft and will boost the risotto in both color and nutrition. Thrown into the pot of simmering risotto one chunk at a time, it gives the risotto a subtle hint of sweetness…but not too much!
When I make risotto I avoid adding too many ingredients. When I make mushroom risotto, I add mushrooms, nothing else. The same happened when I made the pumpkin risotto. The pumpkin was already so rich in taste and abundant in color that it hardly needed any seasoning at all.
The secret to the dish is without doubt the roasted pumpkin…the brown sugar roasted pumpkin, with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Perfection!
I initially had other plans for the risotto but with the pumpkin roasting in the oven the idea just came to my mind by chance. It really could not have gotten any better. I told everybody at work about this heavenly creation, going on and on about how incredible the flavors are. I forget that not everyone is as enthusiastic about food as me. But since it’s only us foodies here let me tell you, this dish will not disappoint. There’s just no way to describe how delicious it is!
Brown Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Risotto
For the roasted pumpkin
For the risotto
- Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and inside from the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into 2cm thick slices.
- Lay them onto the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Evenly sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is soft.
- In the meantime prepare the risotto. Heat up 2 tbsp. of butter in a big pot. Once melted add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the rice, stir for another minute.
- Now, add the wine and keeping stirring until almost fully reduce. Quickly cover the rice with vegetable broth. Keep stirring!!! The rice should always be covered with broth.
- By now, the pumpkin in the oven should be done. Let it cool for a little bit.
- Once the risotto has thickened stir in chunks of the roasted pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper and when almost done add the freshly grated parmesan.
- At the very end you can throw in a dab of butter for some extra creaminess.
- Serve with some parmesan and optionally a dash of cinnamon.