Once you’ve tried it, there is almost nothing better tasting or smelling than brown butter. It will totally captivate you! In this recipe, we caramelize the shallots and cranberries in the sage brown butter to start the sofrito, which is really the flavor base for the risotto. Add any other vegetables, like the roasted pumpkin at the very end, when your risotto is perfectly cooked to al dente. Other things to make note of when making risotto, are to keep your broth hot, cook the risotto slowly over a simmer, add the broth just a little bit at a time, and stir only occasionally to keep the risotto from sticking or burning on the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, it’s best to let it absorb the liquid slowly, but surely, at its own pace, just until the rice is creamy and al dente. Also, don’t fret if you don’t use all of the broth. Sometimes it just gets to the right consistency before it’s all been used. Sometimes, you may need a tiny bit more, but don’t let that worry you. You just want it to be creamy and still have an al dente bite when it’s ready!
Browning butter is not hard, but it does take some patience. It browns over medium-low heat and when it’s ready, you will see bubbles sizzling on top and brown crystals forming along the sides and at the bottom of the pan. It’s best to use a light colored saucepan if possible, because it’s much easier to see when the butter is perfectly brown in a light pan versus a dark gray metal pan. But, if you don’t have one, don’t worry, we don’t either and we brown butter quite often! (We are going to put that on our holiday wish list, though, so we may have one by the year’s end!)
You can do several things ahead of time for this recipe, like browning the sage butter and roasting the pumpkin. This will save time when you get ready to put the risotto on the table! If you do these ahead of time, just be sure to refrigerate them until you are ready to use them. You will heat the brown butter as the base for your sofrito, but you should also at least warm the pumpkin to room temperature before adding it to the risotto. If you decide you want to use goat cheese (we know some of you have an aversion) you can either add it to the risotto at the very end of cooking at the same time as you add the pumpkin, or you can simply crumble it on top as a garnish.
We hope you enjoy making this risotto and would love your feedback on our comment section below! We love to hear from our readers!
Roasted Pumpkin & Sage Brown Butter Risotto with Cranberries and Goat Cheese
- Sauce pan with a light colored bottom
Sage Brown Butter
- 2 oz. unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 sage leaves, snipped into small pieces
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
Roasted Sugar Pumpkin
- 1 sugar pumpkin
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Several grinds salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Several grinds black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 2 oz. sage brown butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/3 cup Arborio rice (dry)
- 3 1/2-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (keep it warmed in a pot of the stove)
- 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese (optional)
- 2 cups bite-sized pieces of fresh roasted sugar pumpkin
- 1 tsp. minced sage leaves
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Sage Brown Butter
- Place butter, sage and thyme in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, swirling it occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, or until it sizzles, bubbles form on top and small brown crystals start gathering around the edges and the bottom of the pan. Be sure to keep an eye on this process, as the butter can go from perfectly caramelized brown to burned very quickly! The butter will take on a beautiful, nutty aroma when it’s browned.
- This process can be done several days ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it. This will save you some time on risotto night!
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
- Cut the stem off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff. Slice pumpkin into 3/4-inch wedges. Brush each wedge with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender and golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven. Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat sage brown butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add chopped shallots and cook until translucent. Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and continue to cook for another few minutes, just to slightly brown the cranberries.
- Add risotto, and cook over medium-low heat just until the rice kernels take on a glossy sheen.
- Add white wine and cook until absorbed. Slowly add heated broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring only occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente. This is a fairly slow process. You don’t want to rush it, stir it too much, or add too much liquid at one time. There should still be a little bit of liquid in the risotto when you are finished and it will look very creamy, even though there is no cream!
- Gently stir in roasted pumpkin bites and goat cheese. Garnish with extra dried cranberries, snipped sage leaves, thyme and grated Parmesan. If you have extra pumpkin wedges, they also make a pretty garnish and they are delicious!