Pumpkin Risotto

So apparently Thanksgiving is a week away. Did y’all know that? I didn’t know that until like an hour ago. Luckily, my saint of a mother pretty much single-handedly makes an entire feast every year so Thanksgiving for me means sleeping in, having my first cocktail around noon then stuffing my face while I watch the Macy’s Parade and feel old as float after float of lip-syncing Disney toddlers rolls by.

Let’s say, however, that you are in the position of having to actually feed people this holiday- what are you going to make? Sure, you gotta go with the usual suspects of Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberries, yada yada yada. That stuff is all great and is definitely essential for a successful Thanksgiving (minus the cranberries, I don’t participate in that but others seem to enjoy them for whatever reason.) But isn’t it always fun to throw in something unexpected that will really impress people with your creativity?

Here’s where this dish comes in. I was inspired by my friend Alex who made this for a progressive dinner we had a couple months ago. It was probably the most delicious thing we ate all evening, and I knew I had to make a Royito’s version of it in time for the holidays. I must say, the spice is the perfect complement to the sweetness of the pumpkin. This is also a great way to use pumpkin in something other than a pie; it only takes about 30 minutes and can be made ahead of time so it’s perfect for when you have ten other things to make. Added bonus- it’s vegetarian, so even your cousin Nicki who recently moved to Seattle, got really into yoga and joined PETA will be pleased. (I know this is two vegetarian recipes in a row for me; I’m getting worried as well. Don’t be surprised if my next recipe is a Royito’s Turducken to make up for it.)

How it’s done:

First, get a saucepan heating up with veggie stock, Royito’s, and canned pumpkin puree. Once it is simmering, stir it all together until it is uniform and turn the heat down to low to just keep it warm.

Now get some onions sauteing in olive oil with a pinch of salt.

When onions have softened, throw in a bunch of minced garlic.

Now for the rice. Risotto is just rice, after all. Toss in the arborio rice and let is toast for a couple minutes in the onions and garlic. It is important to use Arborio of Carnaroli rice because it gets really creamy and delicious.

Now bring some booze to this party. Pour some wine and stir constantly until all of it is absorbed into the rice.

Once the wine is absorbed, start adding in the stock little by little. Do about two ladles-full at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed, then adding more. This is really all there is to risotto. You just have to be patient and stir frequently.

This whole process will take about 20-25 minutes. You want the rice to be cooked through, creamy, and soft to the bite, but you still want it to hold it’s shape and not get mushy. To ensure that it is cooked right, you have to taste it along the way. Once it is to your liking, reduce the heat to low and toss in some butter to really ensure that creaminess.

Now for the finishing touch, grate some parmesan cheese and mince some parsley, toss it in and stir.

Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with extra parm and parsley, then sit back and accept all the praise you will now get from your family.

Printable version:

Royito’s Spicy Pumpkin Risotto


Extra virgin olive oil
3 cups veggie broth
1 cup (half a jar) Royito’s Hot Sauce
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp butter
½ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley


Put veggie broth, Royito’s, and pumpkin puree in a saucepan. Bring it up to a simmer, stir it together, and reduce heat to low to keep it warm.

Cover the bottom of a pot in olive oil and toss in onion to sauté, seasoning with salt. After 4-5 minutes, throw in garlic, stir and cook for another 1 minute. Add in rice and let toast for 1-2 minutes.

Pour in wine and stir constantly until it is all absorbed. Working two ladles at a time (about ½ cup), begin to add in warm broth/Royito’s/pumpkin mixture. When it is absorbed into the rice, add in more. Continue to do this for about 20-25 minutes, until the rice is creamy and soft to the bite but still holds its shape.

Turn off heat, add in butter, parmesan, and parsley, and stir until the butter and parsley melt. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with more parm and parsley.


  1. What a great idea and a diversion from the same ole’ thing this Thanksgiving! Thank you again for a yummy recipe! Gonna try it with my family, or not! Might just have to go home and make it for myself tonight.

  2. Forrest Preece says:

    OK– you talked me into it. This sounds too yummy to pass up. I’ll go to Whole Foods for the ingredients later in the morning.

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