The Great Pumpkin Battle

Every year Pumpkin Spice Season begins earlier and earlier. After the first Pumpkin Spice Latte hits the market in September, we are on a Pumpkin Spice Ride that gives us at least 3 months of solid celebration. From Pumpkin Spiced Cheerios to Pumpkin Spiced Potato Chips, our shelves and stores are jammed packed with “limited edition” pumpkin spiced everything.

I was chatting with a friend from across the pond about this phenomenon. She confessed she was slightly horrified and somewhat revolted that we Americans eat pumpkin mainly as a sweet rather than a main course. I debated valiantly in our defense, but when she volleyed “What do you eat with pumpkin pie? Kale ice cream” across the internet, I immediately responded with this challenge.

“Give me your best savory pumpkin recipe and I’ll offer my best sweet recipe and we shall attempt to find common ground.” Really I just wanted her to admit my recipe was best.

“Let’s make it interesting,” she responded. “Let’s make a RICE dish with pumpkin, I’ll make savory you make sweet”. And the battle began.

Oddly enough, the battle ended in a tie. She preferred her savory risotto and I preferred my sweet rice pudding. Actually I thought her risotto was a tiny bit better than mine, but, of course, I never admitted it.

Give them both a try! You’ll not be disappointed.

Pureed canned pumpkin is perfectly acceptable, but if all those sweet little pie pumpkins make you want to create your own puree, it’s easy as pie. No pun intended. Both of the rice recipes call for 2 cups of pumpkin, but substituting one can of pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, will work perfectly.

 

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Yield: about 5 cups

2 pie (sugar) pumpkins

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Snap or cut the stems off and halve each pumpkin. Scoop out the insides with an ice cream scoop; save the seeds for roasting.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about an hour or until a fork slides through the skin side easily.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. When cool, flip them over and scoop the flesh into a food processor and process until smooth.

Will keep refrigerated for about 10 days or portion into 1-cup portions and freeze for 6-8 months.

 

Pumpkin Risotto

pumpkin-risotto-web

This savory Pumpkin Risotto is a main dish delight! Rich, creamy, and cheesy. It’s absolutely delicious!

Yield: 6-8 dinner-sized servings

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 cups Arborio rice

1 cup white wine (I use Pinto Grigio)

2 cups of pumpkin puree (or 1 can of prepared pumpkin, not pie mix)

1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus for more passing at the table

Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

In a large saucepan, place the chicken stock and broth over high heat. Heat to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and keep simmering throughout the cooking process.

In a Dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes translucent. Stir in the rice, salt and pepper. Cook the rice in the butter mixture, stirring constantly until it is well coated.

Add the wine to the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s completely absorbed. Add ½ cup of broth and cook, stirring constantly until all the liquid is absorbed. Set the kitchen timer for 18 minutes.

Continue to add broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. When there are 5 minutes left on the timer, stir in the pumpkin and fresh Thyme leaves; stir to combine and continue cooking, adding broth and stirring until the mixture is creamy and the rice is cooked through. You may not use all the broth.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Garnish with extra Parmesan Cheese and roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

Pumpkin Rice Pudding

pumpkin-pudding-web

Treat your sweet tooth with this equally delicious Pumpkin Rice Pudding made with milk, pumpkin, and sweet maple syrup.

Yield: 8 servings

4-5 cups of milk

4 Tablespoons of butter

2 cups Arborio rice

1 teaspoon of salt

½ cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup of water

2 cups pumpkin puree (or 1 can of prepared pumpkin, not pie mix)

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup toasted pecans, plus more for garnish

½ cup dried cranberries, plus more for garnish

4 ounces of cream cheese, cut into cubes

In a large saucepan, place 4 cups of milk over low heat; warm the milk but do not allow it to boil.

In a separate Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium high heat until the butter melts. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring constantly until the rice begins to brown. Take care not to burn the rice. Add the salt, wine and pumpkin pie spice and cook, stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup of water and cook, stirring constantly until the water is absorbed. Set the kitchen timer for 18 minutes.

When the water is absorbed, add the hot milk, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting until the milk is absorbed before adding more. When there are 8 minutes left on the kitchen timer, stir in the pumpkin puree and maple syrup; continue cooking, adding milk and stirring until the mixture is creamy and the rice is cooked through. You may need more than 4 cups of milk, so heat extra milk as needed. Remove the mixture from the heat; add the pecans, cranberries and cream cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Garnish with cranberries and pecans.

Speak Your Mind

*