Union Square: Pumpkin Risotto

by Joanne on January 12, 2014

Pumpkin, maple syrup, arugula…so much flavor in this dish.  The Union Square Cafe out did themselves with this mix of flavors.

The perfect winter, warming rice dish.  Use diced squash, simmer in a homemade broth with the sweetly spiced pumpkin flavors to bring out the best of this dish.

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch1

First, make the pumpkin broth. *I split the broth between vegetable, cider and wine but you can use all 8 cups of stock if you want.

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, thin sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery ribs with the leaves, washed and sliced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, washed and sliced
  • 15 oz can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 4 cups Vegetable stock *or 8 cups and omit the following cider and wine.
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider or sparkling cider
  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TBS pure maple syrup

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and leek. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and cook 3 minutes.  Add stock, cider, wine, bay leaf, spices, and syrup. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 45 minutes. 

Pour through a strainer into a saucepan.  Allow it to sit and drain, don’t force the liquid otherwise you will end up with a thick puree.   Discard the vegetables so all that remains is your homemade broth.

Now make the Risotto.

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch10


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups diced, fresh squash (butternut, pumpkin or other firm fleshed squash)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 – 7 cups of your homemade pumpkin broth
  • 1 TBS fresh sage, minced or 1 tsp ground sage
  • 2 cups arugula, wash and chop
  • 1/3 cup diced fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan – Reggiano cheese
  • 3 TBS butter or oil

Heat the pumpkin broth that you saved to a simmer.

Heat the olive oil in a large 3 qt heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and squash and stir with a wood spoon to coat.   Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.  Add 1/2 a cup of the hot pumpkin broth to the rice and stir until it is absorbed.  Continue adding 1/2 a cup at a time, absorbing, stirring constantly until rice and squash are tender, about 25 – 30 minutes. 

Finish by stirring in the sage, arugula, mozzarella, salt, pepper and half parmesan cheese.  Swirl in butter or oil and serve. Top with more Parmesan.

Sorghum Soup and pumpkin crunch3

This heated me up so toasty warm, I actually broke a sweat on a very cold winter day.

So much flavor!  So much texture! So much going on with this dish. 

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  • At 2014.01.13 09:21, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

    Boy this looks absolutely delicious! Does the arugula add a lot of additional flavor? I am always weary of cooked greens in my food – I guess I’m not much of a cooked spinach gal and anything resembling it makes me look twice. 🙂 I bet this could be made with both pumpkin and a butternut squash and have some really fun flavor combos working!

    • At 2014.01.15 21:43, Mary said:

      Such a perfect savory fall and winter dish, and the ingredients are right up my alley. The house must smell amazing when you are making the stock! I love recreating restaurant dishes at home, thanks for sharing this one.

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