Recipe: Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

By , November 20, 2012

When Aly graduated from Mud Bay Home School, we made sure she had a recipe box that included many of the family favorites, plus cards and room for a lot more. Perhaps we needn’t have bothered. She has Internet access at her apartment, and it seems she uses this blog as a recipe source far more than the box!

To wit: I recently discovered a great recipe for Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. I tried it out on Michelle last week, and told Aly about it. She’s now thinking of using it to take advantage of her recent mushroom foraging to make a side dish for the Thanksgiving dinner she’ll be attending with southern family. Michelle and I will be participating in three Thanksgiving feasts this week (so far) and are thinking of making the dish for each of them.

The recipe has been languishing in a binder full of clippings for at least 8 years. While looking for the “fabled” Martha Washington pumpkin recipe, I stumbled upon this one. It seems to have been clipped from Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, from an October or November issue, can’t say what year.

As with virtually every recipe we touch, we’ve adapted it to our tastes, resources, and situation.

Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

My first attempt at Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. There’s a story behind why we have a photo of this dish; I’ll try to get that posted soon (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

So, here we go:


Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Serves 6-8

1 oz. dried wild mushrooms, or 5 oz. of fresh mushrooms
1 cup hot water
2-3 TBSP butter, or equivalent olive or canola oil
1 TBSP canola or safflower oil (or olive oil!)
1/3 cup finely minced onion
1½ cup Arborio rice (whatever that is! How about brown rice, or even plain white?)
4 cups hot chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree  (or baked pumpkin mashed with a fork or potato masher)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (or any parsley you have)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place dried mushrooms in a large measuring cup and add hot water. Make sure they are submerged; set aside for at least 10 minutes. OR, if fresh, dry sautée and set aside. If this process creates a fair amount of liquid, syphon that off and set aside for later as well.

Heat butter with oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add rice and stir to coat, about 1 minute.

Add ½ cup of chicken broth and stir until broth has been absorbed. Continue to add broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. After about 15 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, and the broth has been added, add pumpkin and stir vigorously to blend.

Drain mushrooms, reserving broth. Chop mushrooms and place in a small saucepan with the remaining butter and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until hot. Set aside. Omit this step if you’re using fresh mushrooms.

Add ½ cup of mushroom broth to your rice/pumpkin mixture (risotto) and stir to blend. If the risotto seems thick, add the remaining mushroom broth. The mixture should be somewhat soft, but the rice should be firm. Add ½ cup of Parmesan cheese and stir just to blend. Add lemon juice and parsley, then season to taste.

Transfer risotto to a warm serving dish and top with the mushrooms. Serve immediately with additional cheese on the side, if desired.


That’s it! It’s a good side dish to accompany poultry, or as a main dish with a mixed green salad. The recipe also recommends red wine.

5 Responses to “Recipe: Pumpkin Risotto with Wild Mushrooms”

  1. joanna says:

    You are becoming a surprising source of recipes. I wish I knew how to forage for mushrooms, though!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Joanna, I would point you toward David Arora’s All That the Rain Promises, and More as a good first step in mushroom foraging. He is very encouraging regarding a pursuit that we’ve all been warned away from, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. We are more or less self-taught mushroomers, with the help of others who were only a little bit more experienced than us. It can be done!

  3. Don says:

    Mark, wanted to wish y’all a very happy Thanksgiving! Glad to hear that Aly has family near down south to spend it with as well.

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Don, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

  5. neighbor says:

    Can’t wait to try it with some dried winter chanterelles! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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