Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Risotto with Caramelized Onion and Hazelnuts

It’s raining again so when it comes time to make dinner, I start thinking about comfort foods.  Something warm and creamy.  I had some left over canned pumpkin, from a failed pumpkin cookie attempt, that I needed to use, a pumpkin risotto came to mind.  I don’t usually plan, to far in advance, what I’m going to cook for dinner. It’s a question of what leftovers need to be used or what veggies need to be picked in the garden or what looks good at the farmer’s market.
I made a pumpkin risotto but I felt that the flavor was a little flat so I caramelized an onion and that did the trick.  Topped with some toasted hazelnuts, for protein, this was a very satisfying fall dinner.
Pumpkin Risotto with Caramelized Onions 
Serves 4 - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
1 tablespoon trans fat free expeller pressed butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth (I use Imagine No-Chicken Broth)
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh, you could also use any hard squash puree)
2 tablespoons non dairy cream cheese.  (I use Tofutti Brand)
Garnish: toasted hazelnuts
Put the broth into a pot and bring it to a simmer.
Heat a frying pan on a medium flame and add the Earth Balance and swirl it around to coat the pan.
Add the sliced onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt and maple syrup, mix to coat.
Turn heat to medium-low and saute for 30 minutes, stirring often.  If the pan gets really dry, add a few drops of olive oil.
Heat a heavy pot on a medium-low and add the olive oil.
Add the minced garlic and the other 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the rice and stir for 1 minute.
Add the wine and stir until it’s absorbed.
Add 1/2 cup of broth to the rice and stir until it’s absorbed.  
Continue adding broth to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, until it’s used up.
Don’t forget to stir those onions.
After the last of the broth is absorbed into the rice, add the pumpkin puree and stir.
Add the non dairy cream cheese and stir.  Cook for a few minutes more.
Turn off the heat and gently fold in the caramelized onions.
Garnish with toasted hazelnuts.

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