Pumpkin & Pancetta Risotto

IMG_3610Risotto di Zucca, Pumpkin Risotto is an Italian classic using the colours and flavours of autumn to make what is possibly my favourite risotto of the year.  The addition of pancetta  brings an extra dimension and makes this dish really special

You need to use a pumpkin which will start to break down into a starchy mash as it cooks, so you can’t substitute butternut squash to get the same effect but you could use sweet potato. I’ve used half of my last Red Kuri squash

I’ve recently harvested and dried my Rosemary crop for the season.  Dried rosemary leaves are easy to crush into even pieces in a pestle & mortar, however this recipe will work just as well with fresh, chopped rosemary

I’ve sprinkled my dish with a Chilli and Rosemary oil, made by briefly heating 3 tbsp olive oil with 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary and 1 tsp red chilli flakes then set aside to cool and infuse whilst the rest of the dish was cooking

Serve with a fresh green salad

Serves 3


  • 1oog Pancetta
  • Olive Oil
  • 25g Butter
  • 500g starchy Pumpkin or Winter Squash, such as Red Kuri, diced
  • 2 tbsp Ground/Chopped Rosemary
  • 3 cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced
  • a handful of Sunflower or Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 250g Risotto Rice
  • 1 ltr Vegetable or Chicken stock


  • Roughly tear the pancetta and gently fry off in a pan until it starts to brown and crisp up, then remove
  • Add a little oil to the pan along with the butter and stir in the pumpkin, red onion garlic and half the rosemary
  • Gently saute the pumpkin for a few minutes until it starts to stick on the base of the pan.  Toss in the sunflower seeds and stir well then cover with a lid and allow to cook gently.  Periodically stir to prevent sticking
  • Whist the pumpkin is cooking, heat another splash of olive oil in a second pan and gently saute off the onion with the remaining rosemary
  • Once the onion is soft add the rice and fry for a minute or so before adding in the a couple of ladles of stock
  • Constantly stir the rice, adding more stock a spoon at a time until almost cooked – this should take around 20 minutes and use most of the stock (Note: the rice is fully cooked when it still has a small white core in the centre of the grain, do not be tempted to over cook!)
  • Stir the pumpkin and pancetta through the rice – the pumpkin should break down into a puree leaving a few nice lumps.  Add any remaining stock  and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring all of the time

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