Meatless Monday: Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto

Aida Mollenkamp came up with a pumkin risotto recipe you won't have to slave over: she bakes it in the oven instead of standing and stirring.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

If you want risotto for dinner you either have to go to an Italian restaurant or commit to spending at least a half hour standing at the stove, stirring and stirring the rice with broth until the starches in the rice break down and become creamy. But Aida Mollenkamp came up with a technique that replaces the stand-and-stir method with a time-freeing bake-and-walk-away recipe. You just bake arborio rice with canned pumpkin puree and diced butternut squash and finish it with Parmesan and mascarpone cheeses. The result is a rich, creamy risotto that you don't have to slave over.

No one would guess that this is a low-maintenance dish; serve it in individual bowls and stash the pan away before anyone sees it. Your family will think you spent the entire evening stirring their dinner.

[SNAP path="videos/aidas-baked-pumpkin-risotto" vid=" 0186971"]

5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth to make it truly meatless)

2 cups arborio rice
2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, small dice
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Combine broth, rice, squash, puree, and onion in a 3-quart baking dish, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to evenly combine. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake, stirring occasionally, until most the water has been absorbed and rice granules are puffed, about 35 to 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve.

More Savory, Meatless Pumpkin Recipes:

Pumpkin Lovers Lasagna (use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth)

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