Pumpkin Risotto with Sage and Orange

Pumpkin Risotto with Sage and Orange

This pumpkin risotto is simple to make and very tasty. It was my first time cooking a pumpkin. Won’t be my last. I really loved this.

I do like butternut squash and I’ve made a fair few veggie dishes with it. Although pumpkin and butternut squash are from the same family of vegetable and taste quite similar, for some reason I was worried the pumpkin was going to taste awful. You only really see pumpkins in the supermarkets around Hallowe’en and I thought of them as just being for decoration.

So convinced was I that I bought the pumpkin with the intention of stuffing it with a butternut squash risotto. I roasted the pumpkin first just to make sure it was completely clean before using it as it a dish. As it was cooking the kitchen filled with this lovely sweet smell, like butternut squash but much sweeter.

So this type of pumpkin is called a sugar pumpkin and it’s obvious why.

Once it was roasted I scooped out the flesh and tasted it. It tasted pretty much like butternut squash just a little sweeter. I tasted it thinking this tastes great. I seasoned it and it tasted even better. So this pumpkin risotto is made with pumpkin. But if you come across this recipe at another time of year know butternut squash will work just as well. Although I have to admit the pumpkin is just a little bit sweeter.

Oh and in case you didn’t know sage and butternut squash – or pumpkin – were made to go together.

Where did I get the recipe?

This is an adaptation of the Pumpkin, Orange & Sage Risotto on the Ferrari-Carano website. I used a chardonnay here which has a very oak-y flavour. It’s fine but I think one with a crisper sort of taste will work better with this.

I also made this creamier by adding some double cream. Why? Well, while I haven’t made it yet, the Pioneer Woman’s Butternut Squash Risotto sounds so good that I kind of wanted this to taste a little bit like that. If that makes sense?

The other changes I made were to add in the seeds. I love roasted or fried squash or pumpkin seeds. You don’t need to de-shell them. Just season them and just roast or fry for a few minutes until they become golden brown and plumped up. I think they taste like popcorn.

And I added in a little ground allspice. And I roasted the pumpkin whole rather than chopping it up first.

Wait, is this vegetarian?

Well, it depends how you make it. Obviously if you want it to be vegetarian the stock, wine and cheese all need to be vegetarian. I used Parmesan here so it’s not vegetarian. I think the chardonnay I used is actually vegan friendly – but I haven’t kept the bottle so I can’t swear to that. Basically you do have to be careful with the ingredients if making this for vegetarians.

pumpkin risotto ingredients
Sugar pumpkin, white wine, stock, double cream, sage, onion, leek, Parmesan cheese, orange, arborio rice, butter, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper.

Pumpkin Risotto with Sage and Orange

Serves 4

Pumpkin Risotto with Sage and Orange


  • 1 small sugar pumpkin or medium-sized butternut squash,
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg, freshly grated
  • ground allspice
  • 200g arborio rice, rinsed and drained
  • oil, sunflower or olive
  • butter
  • onion, minced
  • leek, sliced or minced
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 litre stock, chicken or vegetable
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • Parmesan cheese, or Vegetarian Gran Kinara or similar
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons double cream
  • torn sage leaves (leaves of 3 - 4 sprigs)
  • parsley for decoration


  1. Turn the oven on to 180 C. Run hot and cold water over the pumpkin and scrub dry with a towel. Slice or saw the top of the pumpkin off - about an inch or so below the stalk. Place the top back on the pumpkin and place in the oven. Roast until flesh inside is soft and easily scooped out - about 45 minutes. When it is ready take out of the oven. Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl but leave the skin of the pumpkin intact.
  2. Separate the seeds from the flesh. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the seeds on the paper and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes or just until they have turned golden brown and plump. While they are baking juice and zest the orange. When the seeds are roasted take out and sprinkle with some nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. While they are still hot mix the orange zest with the seeds. Leave aside for later use.
  3. Heat a little oil in a large deep frying pan. Add a little butter. Cook the onion and leek, stirring until the onion is soft and translucent. Add in a large knob of butter.
  4. When the butter is melted, add the rice, stirring until the rice is coated and becomes translucent. Add the wine, allowing it to be absorbed. Start adding stock a ladle at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before adding another ladle. Continue until all the stock is in the pan and the rice is cooked.
  5. Stir in 3/4 of the pumpkin flesh.
  6. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cream and some more grated nutmeg. Stir in 50g of grated cheese. Stir in the orange juice tablespoon by tablespoon. Tasting each time to see when's enough. Add in the roasted pumpkin seeds, orange zest and torn sage leaves.
  7. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Serve dotted with the remaining pumpkin purée, some grated nutmeg, Parmesan shavings and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

poor eviscerated pumpkin
Poor eviscerated pumpkin…
roasted seeds with orange zest
When the seed have roasted take them out and sprinkle over a good pinch of nutmeg and a little ground allspice. Then mix in the orange zest.
pumpkin risotto
When the risotto is cooked remove from the heat and stir in the roasted seeds with the zest, and the sage.
pumpkin risotto
Stuffing the pumpkin is kinda pointless – apart from having a cute photo. Of a depressed, roasted and eviscerated pumpkin… Tastes great though.
sad pumpkin stuffed with risotto
Get magical – and avoid getting roasted and eviscerated at all costs. Happy Hallowe’en!