Pumpkin Bacon "Weeknight" Risotto

This is a recipe I invented when I didn't have carnaroli rice, arborio rice, or wine--just a few staples, like brown rice, canned pumpkin, and frozen bacon. This is why I call it "Weeknight Risotto"--it's quick, easy, requires no specialty ingredients, and still provides the warmth and comfort we all love about risotto. I originally published this recipe on my food blog, "The Alchemist".

There you'll find my recipe notes as well as step-by-step photos. I find that the spiced pumpkin I use in this recipe plays off the smoke flavor of the bacon exceptionally well. Enjoy!

Yield: Approximately 4

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Pumpkin Bacon "Weeknight" Risotto Recipe

  • 1 cup rice (brown jasmine or whatever you have on hand)
  • 5-7 cups seasoned broth
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 thick slices all natural, nitrite-free bacon, diced
  • about 1 cup pureed pumpkin (homemade or canned)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Jamaican allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Preparation Instructions

In a small pot, cook the rice according to package directions, substituting 2 cups of seasoned broth for the water, and adding a small splash of olive oil as well. Set aside. Put the remaining broth in a pot on the stove and keep it at a nice, gentle simmer. In a large saucepan, heat a small splash of olive oil and the Earth Balance or butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bacon, and sautee, stirring occasionally, until the bacon begins to render its fat, but before it's crispy or dark.

At this point, stir in the rice and cook it, stirring constantly, until the rice takes on a golden color. Add two ladles or so of hot stock, and stir constantly until the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid. Add another ladle-full and repeat the process. When the rice mixture is just short of creamy (see picture; you may or may not have to add another ladle to get it there, depending on the rice you used), add your pumpkin and another ladleful of stock.
Stir gently to combine, and add the allspice, cinnamon, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. You may like more or less allspice and cinnamon, so season to your preferences. Continue to stir until the risotto has a creamy and tender (though not mushy) consistency. You're done! We actually topped this with a drizzle of black truffle oil, but it's delicious as is, served along with a bowl of delicate greens. Makes about 4 servings if you don't ladle it over yourself, substantially fewer if you do.

Yield: Approximately 4
Helpful Hints

See my website for step-by-step pictures and recipe notes!


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