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Pumpkin & Pea Risotto with Gorgonzola

January 28, 2012

Not long after we met, I invited the Midwestern Gentleman over for dinner and served a classic Italian risotto rich with mushrooms and onions.  He fell in love — with me, naturally, but also with the flavorful versatility of risotto.  Ever since, he has been mentally collecting different flavor combinations for us to try.  Our latest creation was a celebration of the deep, comforting flavors of winter: pumpkin spiked with gorgonzola. Madeira wine’s particular sweetness pairs beautifully with the pumpkin, while the topping of toasted pumpkin seeds adds a pleasing crunch.  Using canned pumpkin and frozen peas makes this an easy wintertime recipe; the ingredients can be kept on hand and pulled out at a moment’s notice.

Pumpkin & Pea Risotto with Gorgonzola

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large, sweet onion, chopped

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup Madeira wine

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, heated

1/2 tsp dried sage

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Topping: gorgonzola crumbles & toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften and turn translucent (about 3 minutes).  Add the rice, and stir well to coat.  Stir in the Madeira wine and cook, continuing to stir, until the wine has almost completely evaporated.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring, until most of the broth has evaporated.  Continue to add the hot broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked al dente.  When you add the last 1/2 cup of broth, also add the sage, black pepper, and peas.  When the last of the broth has evaporated, stir in the pumpkin, heat thoroughly, and then remove from heat.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  Garnish individual servings with gorgonzola crumbles and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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