Photo: Johnny Autry/Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr/Lindsey Lower
Serves 4

For winter comfort, turn to this one-pot meal of Pumpkin-Shiitake Risotto with Pancetta and Pine Nuts. Pancetta, or Italian-cured pork belly, adds a meaty note to this smooth pumpkin risotto blend. Mascarpone cheese adds a creamy and slightly sweet flavor that balances the salty flavor of the pancetta and pine nuts. To toast your pine nuts, stir them constantly in a skillet over low heat until they are golden brown and there's a warm, nutty smell. Keep a close eye, as they can burn quickly.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring chicken stock and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep warm over low heat. Set aside 1/4 cup of warm stock mixture.

Step 2

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pancetta; cook 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice and sage; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 30 seconds or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 1/4 cups stock mixture and salt; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock mixture, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding more (about 22 minutes total). Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin, mascarpone, chives, and pepper. Stir in reserved stock mixture as needed until risotto is desired consistency. Spoon 1 cup risotto into each of 4 bowls; sprinkle evenly with pine nuts.

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Ratings & Reviews

beachgalny's Review

January 24, 2013
Although other commenters note that they followed the recipe exactly, and it worked, I didn't find this to be the case. It's possible that my broth/water combination simmered too long (following the recipe, I started heating it while the pancetta was cooking), and thus I lost too much liquid, but I only had about 2 cups left when I started to add it to the risotto. I ended up heating and adding an additional cup of broth and 1.5 cups of water (added in small amounts), over a much longer cooking period, before the risotto was soft enough to eat. There were still a few grains, at that point, that weren't fully cooked. I've made risottos before and know they take time, patience, and lots of stirring, but this took nearly two hours. If the final result were delicious, it'd be worth it, but I found this bland. The mushrooms were rubbery after such a long cooking time, and the flavor of the pancetta seemed to be lost. I would not make this again.

PrivatePerson's Review

July 20, 2014
I made this for a family dinner. My dad, who is a picky eater, liked it. I also enjoyed it. I can't honestly say I am a risotto fan, I just don't care much for the texture and the time doesn't seem to be worth the effort to me. But if you like risotto, you might just LOVE this. My mom didn't like it due to the texture. I thought adding the pumpkin improved the texture and flavor of the risotto, without adding calories or too much dairy. I made a few substitutions which you might want to try, the dish was still yum. I subbed shallots for both the onion and chives, since I had some to use up. Forgot to pick sage so subbed some dried savory, which I actually like better than sage. Used uncured bacon instead of pancetta and cremini mushrooms instead of shiitake, which I can rarely find. Subbed butternut squash puree for pumpkin, I like that much better. No pine nuts, I usually sub walnuts but could also do without. I may make this again with roasted squash and plain brown rice.

KathleenLee's Review

December 17, 2013

Jennaynay's Review

December 04, 2012
yummy - will definitely make this again. i may use something other than red pepper flakes to add heat because the random hits of heat were less desirable than something more uniform.

detailaddict's Review

November 30, 2012
Mmmmm.....really good. I'm stingy with my 5-star ratings but I believe this recipe earns it as I was standing at the stove with a fork after supper was done. I cut back on the onions (husband doesn't like them) and I didn't have enough fresh chives on-hand, and I left out the red pepper - but even with these omissions we still really liked it. I actually thought the pumpkin would make it ho-hum as it's pretty bland in and of itself, but the combination of flavors works well. No time for a salad tonight - just a glass of the white wine - but next time...

JClaire's Review

January 13, 2013
This is now one of my favorite recipes. I followed the recipe exactly and continue to do so even after making it 3 or 4 times... that almost never happens with me! The pumpkin and the cheese keep the risotto from getting gummy if you don't serve it right away and the pine nuts are the perfect addition at the end.

LDombeck's Review

December 27, 2012
This was really delicious! My boys even ate it all up (4 and 6). I made some substitutions for dietary restrictions. I used turkey bacon instead of pancetta and omitted the marscapone cheese. I also only sprinkled on the red pepper flakes onto my dish and my husband's, not the kids. I can only imagine the pancetta and cheese would add to this wonderful dish. So good!

NanaElaine's Review

January 21, 2013
I made this recently and cannot say how much we enjoyed it. There was so much flavor and the texture was perfect. It came together fast and I did it in steps so that we would be ready to eat when it was done.(Sauteed the pancetta & veggies ahead of time.) Next time I might add fresh spinach for a change-up

allisonjessee's Review

December 05, 2012
This was delicious! The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin (not the whole can), and we thought that amount was perfect. The pumpkin and cheese together make it really creamy. We ended up using barley instead of Arborio, which was great. Like any risotto, it's a lot of hands-on time, but it was definitely worth it! We served it with the pear and winter lettuce salad included in the magazine.

pjsimmer's Review

December 03, 2012