Oct 19, 2021

Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Bacon

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
This pumpkin risotto recipe is made with pumpkin puree and topped with crispy sage, brown butter and bacon for a seasonal side.

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All things pumpkin are perfect for fall and this recipe gives the ingredients a savory twist! This pumpkin risotto is topped with crispy bacon and brown butter with crispy sage leaves. The saltiness in the bacon and richness of the brown butter balances the sweet and nutty risotto recipe.

Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Bacon

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Bacon – Start with a cold pan when cooking the bacon. This will help the fat to evenly render as the bacon crisps. I like the smokiness the applewood smoked bacon adds, though it can easily be substituted with another type of bacon or even pancetta in this recipe. I use the rendered bacon fat as the base of the brown butter to add additional flavor. 
  • Brown butter – Brown butter is not only a flavorful, nutty and slightly sweet sauce for pasta, it’s extremely easy to make and comes together quickly. To create the brown butter or “beurre noisette” the water cooks out and the milk solids toast and turn golden brown. 
  • Pumpkin – Pumpkin puree, also known as canned pumpkin, is made from roasted pumpkin that has been blended to a smooth consistency. It is made with no additional ingredients apart from pumpkin, so it is easy to create your own from roasted, blended pumpkin.
  • Sage – Frying the sage in butter gives it a crisp texture.

How to Make Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Bacon

For the pumpkin risotto:

  1. Cook the onion. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Toast the rice. Stir in the rice, sauté in the olive oil, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, then add ¼ cup of the warmed chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir constantly until all stock has been absorbed.
  3. Cook the risotto. Continue adding the stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring frequently, until all of the stock has been used and rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Add the pumpkin and cheese. Stir in the pumpkin puree and nutmeg followed by the Pecorino Romano cheese. Season to taste with salt then set aside and keep warm.

For the brown butter and bacon topping:

  1. Cook the bacon. Add the bacon to a large sauté pan and fry over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it’s crispy and remove to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.
  2. Remove most of the bacon fat. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve for another use. Return pan to medium-low heat, add the butter and allow to melt.
  3. Make the brown butter. Add the sage then continue to cook the butter, swirling it around the pan occasionally, until the butter is a toasty-brown color and has a nutty aroma. Once this happens, immediately remove the brown butter to a small bowl. Set the sage aside on a plate.

For serving:

  1. Assemble and serve. Divide risotto among warmed serving bowls or plates and top with the bacon, brown butter mixture and crispy sage. Serve immediately.
Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Bacon Recipe

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • Warm the stock – this keeps the risotto warm, rather than cooling it down every time stock is added.
  • Stir the risotto frequently. The creaminess of risotto comes from the starch released when the grains of rice are agitated.
  • The stock is added slowly, and not all at once, so that the rice is not simply boiled.
Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Bacon

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Pumpkin Risotto with Brown Butter and Bacon

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the pumpkin risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Kosher salt, as needed

For the brown butter and bacon topping:

  • ½ pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, sliced into 1” wide strips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 medium sage leaves

Instructions:

For the pumpkin risotto:

  • Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and tender, about 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice, sauté in the olive oil, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, then add ¼ cup of the warmed chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir constantly until all stock has been absorbed.
  • Continue adding the stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring frequently, until all of the stock has been used and rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Stir in the pumpkin puree and nutmeg followed by the Pecorino Romano cheese. Season to taste with salt then set aside and keep warm.

For the brown butter and bacon topping:

  • Add the bacon to a large sauté pan and fry over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it’s crispy and remove to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.
  • Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve for another use. Return pan to medium-low heat, add the butter and allow to melt.
  • Add the sage then continue to cook the butter, swirling it around the pan occasionally, until the butter is a toasty-brown color and has a nutty aroma. Once this happens, immediately remove the brown butter to a small bowl. Set the sage aside on a plate.

For serving:

  • Divide risotto among warmed serving bowls or plates and top with the bacon, brown butter mixture and crispy sage. Serve immediately.

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  1. I have made risotto before without much success. This recipe reads beautifully. I followed it to a T and it was exceptionally delicious and turned out perfectly. The best part is the brown butter sage sauce – it’s out of this world, a really nice touch that makes the dish. I cannot wait to make it again!