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Pumpkin Risotto with Browned Butter and Sage

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The richness of browned butter and sage gives this pumpkin risotto a wonderful flavor.

Right about now most of the jack-o-lanterns round here are looking like they need dentures.  The others have been nibbled at by various nocturnal creatures.  It’s not pretty.

But I was able to put the little pumpkin that’s been decorating my kitchen counter to good use.  I made him into a delicious risotto. But first I roasted the seeds with olive oil and spices.  I roasted them at 350 for 15-20 minutes, checking and stirring every 5 minutes.  They came out extra crunchy and flavorful.  I’ll snack on them while I stir the risotto, and if there are any left, I’ll use them as a garnish.

I adore pumpkin.  But like other winter squashes, it’s a labor of love to peel and chop them. So many savory pumpkin dishes use pureed pumpkin; it’s a lot easier to pop a pumpkin in the oven and then scoop out the cooked flesh an hour later, or, easier still, open up a can.  But I’m craving chunks of bright orange buttery pumpkin.  If you have a cleaver in the house, this is the time to put it to use.  Otherwise grab your sharpest knife and throw back a shot of something strong to calm your nerves.

Sage is such a powerful herb, the aroma is intense and it adds a wonderful earthiness to the risotto.

The shallots do their part, too.  They have more flavor than onions, but they’re milder than garlic.  I can’t get enough of them.

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3 from 5 votes

Pumpkin Risotto with Browned Butter and Sage


  • 3 heaping cups raw peeled pumpkin cut into cubes (you want to end up with 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • olive oil
  • 1 leek trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 large fresh sage leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 26 oz box of chicken stock plus 2 cups water this should leave you with a little to spare
  • salt
  • fresh pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


  • roasted pumpkin seeds


  • Set oven to 400F
  • Once you have your pumpkin cubes, you're home free. Put them on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Not too much, just so they don't stick while you roast them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until they are just tender, NOT MUSHY. This will take about 15 or so minutes depending on your oven and the size of your chunks (mine were about 1/2 inch)...check and stir every 5 minutes. Err on the firm side. Set aside.
  • In a pan drizzle a little olive oil and saute the shallots and leeks over low to medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat the stock and water in a pan on the stove or in the microwave. You want your stock hot as it hits the risotto or it will slow down the cooking process and result in mushy rice. Keep warm.
  • In your risotto pan, melt the stick of butter and continue to heat, on low to medium, until the butter starts to brown. You'll see little specks of brown appear as the milk solids separate out and toast. This might take around 5 minutes, depending on your level of heat and your pan. When you've got a nice brown color, throw in the chopped sage. This is fun, it will foam and sizzle. I took mine off the heat at this point since the butter was quite brown. Let the sage crisp up for about a minute, Back on low to medium heat, add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat the rice and let it absorb the flavors for a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Hit the pan with the wine and stir while the rice absorbs it. This is also fun, the aromas will delight you and inspire you though the constant stirring ahead.
  • Once the wine is absorbed, add the leeks and shallots to the pan, and put in your first large ladle-full of stock. Over medium heat, stir until the liquid is absorbed, and then add the next shot of stock. Think of risotto as your 6 months old who's just learned to crawl. Don't take your eyes off it.
  • You'll keep adding ladles of stock after the last one has absorbed, until the rice plumps up and the absorption slows. This will take approximately 30 minutes. You will be able to tell as you get low on stock and the rice doesn't want to absorb anymore. Taste the rice now and then to check its progress.
  • Add the pumpkin in toward the end, maybe for the last 2 ladles of stock.
  • Lastly, add the cheese and check the seasoning. Serve in large bowls with a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds.

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    These photos are amazing! I want to reach a spoon into the screen and grab a HUGE serving of that risotto. Pumpkin is my favorite flavor ALWAYS, and a little browned butter and creamy arborio rice never hurt it.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    November 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    A pumpkin with sage and brown butter? DELICIOUS? Wow, it sounds amazing and looks beautiful. I love the idea of using it with risotto to. The texture of the rice must have paired so well with the pumpkin seeds.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    This looks great. I can not recall ever eating pumpkin that was not pureed. I just sat here for a few minutes trying to recall if I ever had. I saved a recipe for roasted pumpkin a while back. Now, I’m reminded again and I really must try it!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    oh sue, you have such a way with words. i just pictured all the pumpkins out there with sagging faces and falling teeth. what an image. 🙂
    fabulous dish!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Beautiful. I love how you used the pumpkin in a risotto. It’s perfect this time of year and I agree too, sage is beautiful! A good reminder for me to use it in something soon!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I loved all aspects of your post today. Your risotto looks and sounds delicious. This is a dish that I’m going to try to duplicate. My family will love it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Agreed! That is beautiful looking sage. I just love the way it photographs.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Pumpkin rissotto? It must taste quite good. 🙂

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    November 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This is such a perfect combination – the browned butter, pumpkin and sage – REALLY lovely – also gorgeous photos – lovely post – thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    It is a bit sad to see all those pumpkins going to waste. I feel like picking up those sitting outside the shops, but that would be a little strange I suppose.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    gorgeous! i love a pumpkin or squash risotto. sometimes i puree about a 1/4 of the squash to make the rice a bit more orange. but loving the chunks and the pumpkin seeds! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    November 10, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Pumpkin and sage are a match made in heaven!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Oh my gosh…this looks so good! Your photos are gorgeous! I just read about the benefits of pumpkin seeds on WebMD. And yes, I agree sage is the most beautiful herb!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    looks so gorgeous, your pics are always mouthwatering delights…

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    This looks amazing and something I need to make now as I love risotto and butternut squash. I also love your lip scrub. My daughter and I are going to make up some of those this weekend as present toppers!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Your pics are amazing, look at the sage and the cross section of the onion, they are beautiful. I could eat risotto and jambalaya and paella every day of the week.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Another wonderful recipe! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    November 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    What a great use of the little pumpkin, seeds and all! Squash and sage are heavenly together, and just about perfection in a risotto.

    I’m wanting some of those crunchy little pumpkin seeds right now…