California Central Coast Recipes

Pumpkin and Ham Risotto

If you like risotto and pumpkin, this is a recipe for you. With its colorful ingredients of pumpkin, basil, ham and white onion it's very colorful and is an unusual combination for these vegetables.

To pull this recipe off, you need a sweet cooking pumpkin or you can also use Buttercup squash or butternut squash as substitutes. Really the hardest part of the dish (for me at least!) is cutting the pumpkin or squash in two and scraping out the seeds and pulp. After that, it's pretty straight forward and makes such a colorful presentation that it's worth the little trouble it might cause you. It's a fun dish to have around Halloween or leading up to Thanksgiving plus it's healthy too. Serve with a nice salad and a white wine of your choice. For more information on risotto techniques, please see Risotto - Rice Italian Style! ©2018, Pumpkin and Ham Risotto
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


4 cups raw pumpkin , diced
2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1-1/2 cups white onion , chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic , minced
1 cup white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
6 ounces ham (or ham slice) , cut into 1/4 inch dice
8 cups Reduced sodium Chicken broth , heated until hot
1/2 cup fresh basil , chopped
Salt to taste
Several grinds freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups Parmesan cheese , grated and loosely packed

Preparation Directions.

1 Cut the pumpkin or squash in two, remove the seeds and pulp and cut the inner raw pumpkin into bite-sized small cubes (about 1/4 inch.)

2 In a large heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the onion and saute until softened. Add the garlic and cook with the onion until the garlic is fragrant (2-3 minutes.) If the onion-garlic mixture gets too dry, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

3 Add the white wine to the onion-pumpkin mixture and cook until wine amount is reduced by half.

4 Add the rice and ham and stir to mix well. Stir quickly and with fast deep strokes until the risotto turns very white. At this time, add your first 2 cups of chicken broth. Continue to stir until absorbed, be sure to pick up the rice from bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. Add your salt and pepper to taste.

5 Add the pumpkin, continue to stir well and distribute pumpkin evenly throughout pan. Continue to add chicken broth about a cup at a time, then stir until absorbed, then add the next cup of broth. This process should take about 18 to 20 minutes from the first time you add your hot broth, though when you add the pumpkin, if it's cool, you'll need to compensate the time that's lost while it heats up.

6 When the rice is almost creamy but tender, add your last ladle of broth. Stir well. Then give several long strong fast strokes, picking the rice-mixture up from the bottom of the pan with your spoon and this helps make the risotto extra creamy. See Risotto - Rice Italian Style!

7 Stir in basil, mixing thoroughly, correct the seasoning, then remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

8 Serve on individual dinner plates.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Serve with a Fume Blanc or if you're more daring, a young Rose'.

A tip from Sue!

Stoves and Ovens

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to choose your major appliances, I recommend a gas stove-top and an electric oven.

A gas stove-top is much more versatile than an electric one because it has infinite heat options.

An electric oven is better than gas because it has more even temperatures for baking and heating.