A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store to pick up some milk but of course, in true Alyssa fashion, there is no quick trip to the store. I still had to walk up and down every isle, looking at everything. I must look like a nut to the people who work at the store. I can spend hours there, looking at everything, reading labels, putting things in my cart and putting them back. Anyway, this particular day, I was so glad I took my time to look, because on the bottom shelf pushed to the back in the baking isle were a few cans of pureed pumpkin. Just pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. I may, or may not have snatched it off the shelf. I may, or may not have raced to the check out to buy it. I may, or may not have hid it in the back of the pantry like someone was going to break in and steal it.
No, I’m not some kind of crazy pumpkin nut. To be honest, I never really cared for the stuff that much before. It’s just that there are not the same kind of pumpkins you carve for Halloween, and the canned stuff couldn’t be found anywhere on the island. You know the saying, something like, “you never appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Well that has been my feeling about pumpkin. To my other foodie friends who have been making pumpkin recipes and posting them for months, you may have noticed me tell you how great it was and how I was
jealous excited to see the post.
Well, now I had my very own can of pumpkin and it has literally taken me weeks to decide what to make with it. Indecisive me decided to finally use it to make a super easy (and pretty good) risotto. And of course, I wanted to figure out a way to make this a make-ahead dish as it’s the week before Christmas and I’ve got tons of stuff on my nap time to-do list (ok that’s a lie, I wanted to spend nap time catching up on Real Housewives of Atlanta.) There were many slow cooker risotto recipes I came across while doing a quick web search, but all required stirring at various points during the cooking process, which I thought kind of defeated the point (and I didn’t want to have to pause the RHWoA or miss a minute of any cat fight!) So when I saw this recipe for a baked risotto that was so simple, I knew I had to try it. My verdict: it was a bit gummier than a traditionally made risotto, but it was so easy that I’d do it again.
Baked Pumpkin Risotto:
*Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake’s Easy Baked Risotto
3 1/2 cupsTurkeyStock ( used up what I had made after Thanksgiving)
1 cup pureed pumpkin
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh thyme to garnish
Salt and Black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Combine stock, pumpkin, cumin and rice in a casserole. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in cheese and butter. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and thyme leaves. Serve immediately.
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