I’ve been a little preoccupied lately.
I have no excuses, and can’t even give a good reason why my blog hasn’t been regularly updated. After all, I have been cooking.
I guess I just needed a break.
Now that the weather is changing, my yard has been (partially) cleaned up, and there’s a slight chill in the air…I can officially say the baking/creating/cooking season has begun!
I kicked off the season yesterday by making a Roasted Pumpkin and Sausage Risotto with Gruyere and Sage, and it was fabulous!
My friend, Megan, and I met up for lunch yesterday at Nupa–a local Mediterranean restaurant–known for it’s delicious food and equally delectable owners. I swear, every time I go there, the place is packed with women scoping out the “Greek gods” behind the counter.
I’m not kidding. But, just so you know…I go there for the hummus. Yup. Only for the hummus.
But seriously, if you’re in Rochester and you want GOOD food fast, Nupa is the place to go!
After lunch I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. I had pumpkin on my mind.
I picked up a small pie pumpkin, a package of sausage, some fennel and a block of gruyere. I was craving classic fall–or Autumn, for those of you across the pond–ingredients. I was torn between making a soup or a risotto, and in the end the risotto won. Seriously. Risottos always win.
I also decided to make pumpkin caramels. Random…yet, delicious.
Once I got home I popped the pumpkin in the oven to roast, started melting the butter and the sugar, and shredding apples and fennel. I was stirring sticky caramel with one hand and cooking sausage with the other…all while hoping that the caramel would finish before the pumpkin because I seriously did not have an inch of counter-space to set anything.
It was almost more than I could handle.
Roasting a Pumpkin
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Grab a sheet-pan, some parchment paper and a roll of tin foil. Begin by chopping the pumpkin in half and scooping the seeds/membranes out.
Put parchment paper on the baking sheet. Lay the pumpkin–cut side down–on the parchment paper.
Cover the pumpkins/baking sheet with tin foil.
Pop this in the oven and set a timer for 1 1/2 hours. Forget about it.
Once your timer goes off, remove the pan from the oven. Lift off the tin foil.
Flip the pumpkins cut-side up, using a fork.
Scoop out the cooked pumpkin flesh.
I scooped the puree into a mini-food processor along with 1 tbsp diced butter, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, 8 torn sage leaves and about 1/2 cup veg. stock.
The resulting puree was really tasty, and I can imagine eating it by itself as a side dish on Thanksgiving. Yum!
Once my pumpkin was pureed and my caramel was cooling, Megan came over and I got started on the risotto.
I grabbed my favorite dutch oven and tossed some olive oil in. I added some chopped shallot and minced garlic along with a little butter. Once the shallots were soft, the risotto-making process began.
I coated the rice with the butter, deglazed with wine and added stock one ladle at a time.
Once the rice was just right, I turned off the heat and added a small pinch of nutmeg, shredded Gruyere and a little Parmesan. Once it was all nicely combined, I tipped in (I just love how that sounds…) my pumpkin puree and cooked sausage.
Dinner was done!
Roasted Pumpkin, Sausage and Sage Risotto with Gruyere
Serves 4-6 generously
Ingredients for Risotto:
- 1 – 2 c. roasted pumpkin puree (see directions on how to roast a pumpkin above ^)
- 4 to 5 c. Stock (I used 2 c. homemade chicken stock and 3 c. store bought veggie stock)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves- minced
- 2 shallots- chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 c. uncooked Arborio rice
- 3 tbsp. dry white wine (I used a dry Chardonnay)
- 1/4 c. fresh Parmesan cheese- grated
- 3/4 c. fresh Gruyere cheese- grated
- salt- to taste
- freshly ground black pepper- to taste
- 1 lb. cooked sausage–recipe follows
- sage leaves, to garnish
- 1 lb. pork sausage
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 c. fresh shredded fennel
- 2 small apples, shredded
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 c. apple cider (you can sub. water)
- In a large dutch oven combine olive oil, fennel, apple, shallot and garlic over medium-high heat. Once the veggies/fruit becomes tender and fragrant, add the nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir to combine, and cook spices for 2 minutes.
- Add sausage. Mix well. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the sausage is no longer raw.
- Once the sausage is cooked, add 1/4 c. apple cider and let it simmer until the cider evaporates. About 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and dump sausage into a colander so some of the fat can drain from the meat.
- Set aside.
- Bring Stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
- Pour 1 tbsp. olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan (I used my dutch oven) and heat over medium-high flame. Once the oil is hot, add the shallot and garlic–stirring constantly. You don’t want the shallot to take on a brown color, but you want it to be cooked through and semi-translucent –approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- Once the shallot and garlic are cooked, add the butter and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- Add the uncooked rice to the pot and cook (stirring constantly) for about a minute. Add 3 tbsp. wine to deglaze. Keep stirring the rice until all the wine seems to be absorbed and the pan is looking dry.
- Add one ladle of stock (approximately 1/2 c.) and stir until nearly all of it is absorbed by the rice. Keep stirring and adding stock 1/2 c. at a time as the rice absorbs it. I ended up using about 5 cups of stock, but it will really depend on how long your rice takes to cook (you want the rice to be al dente –it should have a little bite to it) and how creamy you like your risotto. This process will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat before adding the cheese, pumpkin puree, and sausage. Taste and add any salt and pepper, if necessary. Keep stirring until the cheese is melted and is no longer “stringy.” The risotto should have a nice thick, creamy consistency at this point. Remove from heat. Garnish with additional sage, if you want.
- Serve as soon as possible for best flavor.