This risotto was inspired by a favorite Memphis dish. By inspired, I mean that I was quite intrigued by the concept of taking what would normally be a risotto dish with small chunks of chicken and substituting a vegetable — er — fruit (yes, people, pumpkins are fruit!). You can make it the traditional way with short-grain or Arborio rice, or try it as pictured, with orzo (that also cooks faster).
- 1 cup small cubed pumpkin, about ½-inch thick
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups orzo or Arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ½ tablespoon sage
- 1 tomato, sliced for garnish
- ½ tablespoon fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss pumpkin squares with the olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pieces are easily pierced by a toothpick. Set aside to cool.
Heat the water until boiling, then add the orzo or rice and stir occasionally. After 8 minutes for the orzo or after 18 minutes for the rice, drain and then return to the pot. Add the pumpkin cubes, pine nuts, and sage.
Garnish with the tomato slices and fresh basil.