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RECIPE: Pumpkin, Sausage & Sage Risotto

This weekend we “discovered” a package of arborio rice, way back on a shelf in our very deep pantry. We decided to use it.

We don’t know how long it had been there, but white rice kept in good condition (no moisture, no excess heat) can last at least 4-5 years. If vacuum sealed, it could last 25 to 30 years!

Brown rice doesn’t have the same staying power; the oil in the wheat germ will go rancid.

Here’s a chart on the shelf life of both uncooked and cooked rice (scroll to the middle of the page).

Back to our package of arborio: Cristina Ferrare sent us a recipe a year or two ago that we never got around to. Finding that package of arborio was the nudge we needed.

Before you dig in:


It’s the perfect fall risotto recipe. You can serve it as a first course, a side, or lunch with a side salad.

“Pumpkins not only bring the flavor of fall into each bite,” says Cristina Ferrare, “but they make great serving bowls as well.

“You’ll set the perfect cozy scene for your family dinner table [or impress your guests] with this creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Risotto.”

You can find more of her recipes here.

You don’t need to serve the risotto in a pumpkin; but if you do want to present it in a fresh pumpkin shell, you can buy either a standard pumpkin or mini pumpkins for individual servings.

If you want to scoop out the insides a day in advance, stick the pumpkin(s) in the freezer.

Or, you may wish to invest in a ceramic pumpkin tureen. When not used for tableware, it can serve as a household decoration from late September through Thanksgiving.


  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • ½ pound mild ground sausage
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, chiffonade
  • ½ cup pumpkin purée
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not from a can!)
  • Optional garnish: grated cheese curls
  • Option: cleaned pumpkin shells

    1. BRING the chicken stock to a boil. In a separate heavy bottomed pot, sauté onions in the butter until translucent.

      Pumpkin Risotto In A Pumpkin
    [1] Pumpkin risotto: hearty comfort food for cool and cold weather (photos #1 and #2 © Cristina Ferrare).

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin sausage risotto 2 cristinaferrare 230
    [2] How about a mini pumpkin?

    Pumpkin Risotto
    [3] Mini pumpkins are more labor, but memorable. Here’s the recipe for this potato-rice stuffed pumpkin (photo © Dear Kitchen).

    2. ADD the ground sausage and fry until no longer pink. Stir in half of the sage. Add the rice and allow it to slightly brown, around two minutes.

    3. BEGIN adding the stock 2 cups at a time, stirring after each addition. As the rice absorbs the stock, continue to add another 2 cups until nearly all of the stock has been used and the risotto is very creamy.

    4. STIR in the pumpkin and the remaining sage. Taste quickly, and season as needed. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Garnish with cheese curls if desired, and serve immediately.

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