Pumpkin Risotto

Risotto di Zucca

Mary Ann Esposito


Classic risotto usually gets its deep golden hue from saffron, but in this version from Terry Rozzi, whose home is Cremona, in northern Italy, diced pumpkin provides not only a delicate color but also a slightly sweet taste.

Part of the process can be started in advance, by cooking the leeks, pumpkin, and rice in the butter; set aside at room temperature, or refrigerate if more than a few hours before serving time.


1 small pumpkin (about 1/2 pounds)
6 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, well rinsed, and diced
1 cup Arborio rice
3 1/2cups hot Homemade Chicken Broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Cut off the pumpkin stem. With a vegetable peeler, remove the skin. Cut the pumpkin in half, and remove and discard the seeds and stringy flesh. Dice enough of the pumpkin to make 1 cup. (Save any remaining pumpkin for another use.)

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the pumpkin and leek and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Cook, stirring, until the rice begins to crackle, about 5 minutes; do not let brown. Slowly add ½ cup of the chicken broth and stir constantly until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Add a little of the wine and continue stirring until it is absorbed. Continue adding broth and wine alternately, stirring all the while, until the rice is al dente, with a creamy consistency.

Stir in the cheeses, blending well and stirring until the mascarpone melts. Serve immediately.

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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  1. Greg Gohde's avatar

    Greg Gohde

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    I found this recipe in an Italian cooking magazine many years ago. I have made this risotto numerous times to great acclaim. There are lots of good cooking tips in this recipe.

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