Food & Drink

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Kale and Fresh Bread Crumbs

ed70490fd7c811fe6235_risotto.jpg
Cooking with Craig's Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Kale and Fresh Bread Crumbs Credits: Craig Thiebaud
ed70490fd7c811fe6235_risotto.jpg

EDISON, NJ - As everyone starts thinking about pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving next week, you may find yourself with some leftover pumpkin.  Instead of using it to make another dessert, why not try using pumpkin in a savory dish?  I chose risotto but you can certainly adapt this basic recipe and use pasta or any other grain you prefer or have on hand.  If you have a different green on hand, you can certainly substitute it for the kale as well.  I like kale with this dish because it tends to hold its color and texture pretty well over time.  However, any green or herb would work well.

There are a number of different ways to prepare fresh pumpkin.  I chose to roast it, allow it to cool and then scrape out the flesh.  From there I seasoned it simply and pureed it.  As an aside, I use this method for making pumpkin pie as well. 

The real challenge with this recipe is coaxing the pumpkin flavor out without overpowering the risotto with a lot of spice thereby losing all the subtle flavors of the pumpkin, kale, and risotto.  I use a homemade vegetable broth and I think that’s a key.  However if you are not inclined to make your own, you can certainly use a canned/boxed broth or simply use water. 

Sign Up for E-News

This dish makes a filling vegetarian main course for four or a great starter course that would easily serve six.

Ingredients:

1 Medium sized pumpkin (5-10 lbs.)

Up to 3 Quarts of vegetable broth

1.5 Cups Risotto Rice (Arborio Rice)

1 Medium onion, small dice

3 Medium shallots, small dice

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 to 2 Bunches Kale (I used Tuscan kale)

4 or 5 Fresh sage leaves

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated is best)

Olive oil

2-3 Large lemons

1 Large glass of water

Kosher Salt

Red Pepper Flakes

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Fresh bread crumbs, semi-coarse for texture

Instructions:

Make the Pumpkin Puree:

This can be done a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until time to use.

·         Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

·         Prepare the pumpkin for roasting by cutting off the top.  Scoop out the seeds, etc. leaving only the pulp.  Cut the pumpkin into four to six pieces (depending on the size of the pumpkin).  Then drizzle olive oil and a bit of salt over both sides of the pumpkin.  Place in roasting pan and roast for about 45 minutes.

·         After 45 minutes, check the pumpkin for doneness by placing a fork in the flesh.  If the pumpkin easily comes apart, remove from the oven and set aside.  If not, roast another 15 minutes, check again and continue until you reach the point where it does come apart easily.

·         Allow pumpkin to cool.

·         In the meantime, gather a blender or food processor, a very large mixing bowl, lemons, a large glass of water, salt, and red pepper flakes.

·         Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, remove the pumpkin flesh from the skin.  Working in small batches, place some of the pumpkin flesh in blender or food processor.  Add about ¼ Cup (doesn’t need to be exact) of water and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Puree until smooth.  You may need to add more water, a little at a time to achieve a completely smooth puree.

·         Once all the pumpkin is processed in this way, squeeze juice of 1 lemon over the pumpkin puree.  Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil and mix to combine. 

·         Taste puree and adjust seasoning to taste.  It should taste of pumpkin but will seem pretty plain at this point. 

·         Set aside to make the risotto or refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the risotto:

·         Heat the 3 quarts of vegetable broth until just short of a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.

·         In the meantime, dice the onion and shallots into a small dice and then mince the garlic.  Measure out the risotto rice and have the cinnamon and nutmeg handy as well.  (All the ingredients should be prepared and gathered before you start as this will go very quickly).

·         Chop the kale into small ribbons.  If you use leafy kale instead of Tuscan kale, remove the ribs from the leaves and then chop into ribbons.

·         Chop the sage leaves coarsely

·         In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the pan over medium heat for a couple minutes.  Add enough olive oil into the pan to cover.  Add the sage leaves, a pinch of salt, and a dash of red pepper flakes.  Stir for a minute or so and then added diced onion and shallots.

·         Stir frequently to avoid burning.  Cook mixture for about five minutes and then add the minced garlic.  Cook another minute.

·         Add rice to the pan.  Cook the rice for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning it.

·         Using a ladle, place two scoops of warm vegetable broth to the pan.  Add more if the rice isn’t covered.  Add enough until just covered.  Stir frequently.  When the rice thickens to the point where you start to feel some resistance to the spoon, add a couple more ladles of broth.  Continue this process for about 20-25 minutes.

·         At that point, taste the risotto and it should be just undercooked.  Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch more salt, and another ladle or two of broth.  Stir to combine.  If the rice mixture is very thick, add more broth until it becomes easy to stir again.

·         Continue cooking until rice tastes al dente.  At that point, add the kale and stir to incorporate.  Cook another minute until the kale is just wilted.  Remove from heat.  If the risotto is too thick, stir in a touch more broth, a little at a time until the risotto becomes thick while still being able to stir it.

·         Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, ground black pepper, and/or red pepper flakes.  Finish the dish by adding the juice of the remaining lemons to the risotto. 

To Serve:

Spoon a portion of the risotto into a bowl then grate a touch of nutmeg over the top of the entire dish.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil over the top and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of everything.  Serve immediately while hot.

Tip: 

If you don’t serve the risotto immediately, the risotto will thicken and seize up.  If that happens, simply add more warm broth, stir to combine and then taste and readjust seasoning levels.

Craig Thiebaud is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City. After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen. Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available. Let's get back into the kitchen together!

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Clark's CityMD Urgent Care Shares Flu Survey

CLARK, NJ - As flu season is in full gear and the probability of catching the flu is a real concern, a majority of Americans admit to taking actions that may contribute to the spread of this highly contagious virus.  According to a recent survey, roughly three out of five Americans who have had the flu or flu-like symptoms (61%) admitted to being out and about the last time they ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_4263e5e3ea86532c53e1_take_your_child_to_the_library_day

Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

The Clark Public Library, Clark

Take Your Child to the Library Day

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_e98775566841c6c9afee_ucea

Thu, March 1, 4:00 PM

Barnes and Noble, Springfield

Grab the Family and Head to a Very Special Read ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 2, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Clark VFW : Spotlight on Joseph Horling

February’s spotlight is on Joseph Horling , Staff Sergeant US Army 1942-1946.

Joe was born in Rahway NJ on Oct 1, 1920.  He and his brother Anthony were born to Anthony Sr. and Bertha Horling .  Joe’s father was born in Munich and his mother Bertha in Austria. 

Joe enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1942.  Eight months later, in 1943, he enlisted in the US ...

Kiwanis Clark - Flapjack and Raffle Fundraiser

February 24, 2018

KIWANIS CLUB OF CLARK—The Clark Kiwanis Club, the local chapter of the worldwide philanthropic organization that aids children's causes and charities, has announced their upcoming Flapjack Fundraiser for Sunday, March 18, 2018, from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. at the Clark Applebee's.

The Clark club is the parent organization for the ALJ High School Key Club, the Kumpf Middle School ...

First Hand Account: Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 22, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Don't Rule Out a College Based Solely on Sticker Price Here's Why

Has your child been crossing schools off their college list based solely on the sticker price?  In this week's Tuesday Takeaway, Chris Curran talks about why the sticker price is often far higher than the actual price you will pay.    Take a listen to Chris Curran's latest chat and don't forget to check out his book College Funding ...

Choosing a College With the 'Right' Fit

Do you know if your child is choosing a college with the right fit?  Do you know what the right fit means or why it matters?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's latest chat about why fit matters and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  

Check out other columns by Chris here.

Scutari vs Mahr

February 14, 2018

I read with interest in a local newspaper regarding the Union county democrat party political infighting for their “county chair” selection.  There were 2 letters juxtaposed, each one listing supporters of either Senator Scutari or Fanwood Mayor Mahr, who are the two main people vying for the “boss” position.

Although I am a democrat I am not a committee ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...