Pumpkin Pecan Risotto with Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese

Despite its appearance, risotto is not a type of rice but rather an Italian dish made with a special high-starch short-grain rice.

Which includes the Arborio, Carnaroli and the Vialone Nano rice.

The Rices Used To Make A Risotto

This special type of rice can absorb quite a bit of liquid without becoming mushy.

A basic risotto is particularly prepared with Arborio rice, bone broth, shallots, butter and salt.

Once you have the basics, you can add just about any other food that you would like.

This risotto includes dried cranberries, pecans, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, goat cheese, and Italian parsley.

The History Of Risotto

The history of how Risotto became an Italian dish is quit simple.

The story of risotto begins in the 14th century B.C. with the Arabs bringing rice to Sicily and Spain during their rule.

Rice Fields In Northern Italy

Italy was the ideal place to grow short-grain rice due to the humid weather and abundant flat land.

Till today, the Po Valley (Italy) is one of the largest rice producers in Europe and rice is eaten extensively throughout northern Italy.

Making A Risotto Is Not Time Consuming

Making a risotto with any of the rices we noted at the start of reading this article, takes as long as cooking an Asian rice or Mexican rice.

But the difference is, it is hands on from start to finish. Which is about 20 to 25 minutes. And I will say, It is worth it.

If you prepare a risotto the right way, or in other words, follow the recipe, you will have a creamy delicious risotto.

Pumpkin Pecan Risotto with Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese

• 4 cups bone broth (or vegetable stock)

• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 shallot (minced)

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

• 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

• 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar red

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

• Fresh ground black pepper

• 1 cup crumbled goat cheese

• 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the stock and pumpkin over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cover and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Once the foaming subsides, add the shallot and salt.

Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the thyme and rice and cook for one minute longer.

Add the white wine vinegar and a ladle of warm stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated. Add another ladle of stock, and continue cooking until evaporated again.

Continue cooking, adding a ladle of stock at a time, and allowing to evaporate in between each addition. Cook until the rice is done, but has a bite to it, it should be creamy in texture, and will take about 20-25 minutes.

Mix in the parmesan, half of the parsley, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining parsley, goat cheese and dried cranberries. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and PecansThis rice pilaf is delectably wonderful as a side dish with just about any main dish roasted chicken or turkey.

There is about 7 grams of fiber per serving (8 ounces) in sweet potatoes. They have large amounts of potassium, beta-carotene, and are a good source of manganese.

Sweet potatoes are also anti-inflammatory, and can also improve the regulation of your blood sugar levels. The vegetable root is also antibacterial and anti-fungal.  It promotes a healthy digestion, and contains a small amount of vitamin-D, which is good for strong bones, and helps with brain function.

Getting plenty of vitamin-D can stave off heart problems, dementia, some forms of cancer too just name a few health concerns, as one ages.

Now for our featured recipe: Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans, and here is what you will need.

ingredients-for-Sweet-potato-Pilaf-with-Cranberries-and-Pecans

1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
5  tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 to 1 tsp. pie spice

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, until soft and lightly colored, 10 to 12 minutes.

Pour broth into a medium sauce pot over high heat. Pour in rice and bring to a boil; lower heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is done and tender.

While the rice is cooking, peel and dice sweet potato. Place into a large bowl with 2 tbsp. oil, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Line a baking pan with a piece of tin foil.

Spread coated vegetable evenly over foil. Place baking pan into heated oven and roast 20 to 25 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Remove and set aside.

saute garlic and onion In a non-stick skillet, heat 3 tbsp. oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring, until soft and lightly colored, 10 to 12 minutes.

step-by-step-to-mix-ingredients-for-Sweet-Potato-Pilaf-with-Cranberries-and-PecansNext add dried cranberries and pecan, stir another 3 minutes. Spoon in cooked rice and mix well. Turn off heat and add sweet potato and incorporate well. Sprinkle with pie spice and gently mix in to combine flavor with other ingredients. Let stand covered, 5 minutes.

Sweet-Potato-Pilaf-with-Cranberries-and-Pecans.jpg

Spoon rice mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with Italian parsley (optional).

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Plate the Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans as a side with your main dish meat. Here we served it with roasted seasoned chicken breast.

Check out another great recipe of ours using sweet potatoes: Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips .

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