Risotto alla Zucca – Pumpkin Risotto


The autumn has arrived, and with it also a lot of great recipes typical of that season 🙂

It’s already possible to find pumpkins, so why not to start with a wonderful and colorful risotto?

In Italy it’s a recipe typical of Mantova area and also Veneto region, so there the selected pumpkin is usually the Mantovana or Chioggia type. Here in Hungary I can have very good results with the Nagydobosi pumpkin or also with the Hokkaido pumpkin (also called Red Kuri squash or Potimarron). For the best results I don’t suggest you to use the butternut squash.

Let’s see how to make it.


INGREDIENTS (4 people):

  • 320 g of rice, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano types
  • 320 g of pumpkin (cleaned weight)
  • 1 medium sized golden onion, or shallot (50 g about)
  • 70-80 g of good butter
  • 1,2-1,5 liters of vegetable stock
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 4-5 tablespoons


  1. First of all you have to prepare the vegetable stock: use the usual onion, leek, carrot, celery, pepper grains, etc. and cook it at low heat for at least 45-60 minutes if you want a good broth. Season it also with salt.
  2. Meanwhile clean the pumpkin and cut the pulp into small cubes of about 1-2 cm. Then when the stock is ready filter it from the vegetables and then add the pumpkin cubes to boil inside. Boil it for 15 minutes and in the same time take a small pan and cook the onion (in a good risotto the pieces of onion shouldn’t be larger than a grain of rice) with about 20-25 grams of butter, let it simmer gently until the onion is soft.
  3. While the pumpkin and the onion are cooking you can start to toast the rice (I used a Vialone Nano this time): take a pot, heat it up at high heat and when it’s hot add the rice, with no fats. We have to toast it for 2-3 minutes, keep it moved (make it “jump” by moving the pot) every 20-30 seconds and when you cannot touch the rice with your hands and you see that the grains have become a bit shiny/transparent then it’s toasted. This is the moment to add the white wine, keep the heat higher until the wine has reduced. Start counting the time from now, in about 16 minutes it will be ready, but read on the package too.
  4. When the alcohol of the wine has gone start adding to the rice the vegetable stock and some pumpkin cubes. The liquid has to cover the rice always, now add also the onion and the rosemary leaves which you have cut very small. Keep the heat on medium/strong, the liquid has to boil well all the time.
  5. Keep stirring regularly (but not continuously) and gently the rice, with a wooden spoon or a spatula, it must not attach on the bottom. And keep adding the hot vegetable stock with the pumpkin cubes when needed, 1-2 ladles at each time, the rice has always to stay covered with liquids. You should use all the stock, about.pumpkin_risotto_5
  6. Try the rice, check if it’s salted enough, and when it’s ready switch off the heat. Now we have to “mantecare” our risotto: add the remaining butter, the grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano and let it rest covered for 1-2 minutes and then mix well. Wait another couple of minutes, covered, and then serve it.
  7. Enjoy with a good glass of white wine 🙂

PS: there are some variations too: for example someone add amaretti (which are typical also in the famous “tortelli di zucca mantovani”), someone like to add some other cheese like Asiago or Stracchino. Or also sausage for a richer taste. Someone else prefer to bake the pumpkin, make a cream of it and add it to the risotto. They are all good alternative options. And you could also garnish the dish with a little drizzle of pumpkin seed oil (actually I have it at home but I thought about it only later, I’ll try next time).





11 Comments Add yours

  1. Risotto and pumpkin – two of my favourite things to eat. What a fantastic recipe. Will definitely store this away for autumn. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 and the rosemary fits perfectly with the pumpkin 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rowena says:

    I’m keeping my eyes open for notices on the seasonal sagre….they always have so many (all most too many!) variations on risotto that it’s hard to choose between them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes there are many variations as I wrote in the end 🙂 with amaretti, with sausage, different cheese, etc, 🙂


  3. I love this risotto! Here in the US, I often make “pumpkin” risotto with baby yams. Sadly, the pumpkins here often lack flavor, nothing like the intensely delicious zucca I could find in Italy…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 yes it’s important to select a good zucca, otherwise there is really not much flavor and you should add or more butter/cheese or other ingredients, but then it’s not remaining much of the pumpkin taste.


  4. I see that your Hokkaido pumpkin is the same as the Red Kuri squash/pumpkin – in French, the potimarron, one of my favourite squashes. We get very good ones here in Montréal at Jean-Talon market (I live near there – this is not an accident). I’m not vegan, but I like the idea of the pumpkin delivering most of the flavour and texture, and not overloading the risotto with too much butter and cheese. Is pumpkin seed oil available in northern Italy? A friend brought some once from Vienna – imagine it is also found in Hungary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Yes I saw now that that’s the English/French name, I will add it now to the text, thank you 🙂 here they call it Hokkaido.
      No, pumpkin seed oil is not available in Italy (at least I never saw it in 30 years), it’s mostly a product of Austria (exactly Styria and Burgenland regions) and also Hungary but just on the border area with Austria and it’s not really common as in Austria. It’s perfect for example on pumpkin cream soup, but it has a much less wide range of use than extra virgin olive oil.


  5. Yes, I’ve never seen it in Italy, but while I studied in Veneto and Fruili, I was only briefly in Bolzano and not really grocery shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen says:

    We’ve just returned to a trip to Germany and Austria where every menu had some form of pumpkin on it. Your risotto looks delicious and I appreciate your tip of toasting the rice with nothing else in the pan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, in Austria and also Bavaria they are “crazy” for the pumpkin season 🙂 but they are right, it’s a good vegetable and it’s good to follow the seasons 🙂 thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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