Recipe: Pumpkin & Celery Risotto Served with Braised Leeks

Recipe: Pumpkin & Celery Risotto Served with Braised Leeks

  • posted on: October 28, 2019
  • posted by: Kari Fetrow
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Hey there! Kari here again with my new favorite Fall recipe! 

I never actually feel like Fall is here until I sit down with my family to carve pumpkins. Every year during said pumpkin carving I always find a way to have pumpkin for dinner. One year it was a Spiced Pumpkin Soup, another was Chicken Served on a Bed of Roasted Pumpkin, but this year, this year was my absolute favorite! I came up with a Celery Pumpkin Risotto with Braised Leeks. It was AMAZING. It was like fall wrapped me in a warm hug and said: “Now you’re ready for some cold weather.” This dish was rich, filling, and super easy to make while looking (and sounding!) very fancy.

Have a go and give it a try. Tell me if you like it,

For the leeks
2 lb leeks, preferably very small ones 
¼ cup wine (I used a rose I had lying around)
¼ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp butter

For the risotto (adapted from a New York Times Celery Risotto Recipe)
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp sunflower oil
½ cup minced onion
6 stalks celery, diced (approx. 2 cups)
2 cups winter squash, diced (I used kabocha)
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry white wine, optional
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions for the leeks
Start by cutting the dark greens tops off the leeks. Then cut the leeks in half, but not all the way, leave it attached to the root. Submerge it in water to wash away all the dirt that’s hiding in between the layers. After cleaning, slice them all the way in half, but try to keep the layers together. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted add the leeks cut side down and cook until they have browned a bit, about 5-6 minutes. Then add the wine and chicken stock. If you have it, cover the skillet with a parchment round or place a lid on the pan so that it allows the air to vent out (cock-eyed). Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the leeks simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, give it a stir and serve. *Note: if there are any papery looking layers remove them from the dish (think onion skin texture.) 

Directions for the risotto
Put your stock or broth into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over low heat, with a ladle nearby. Make sure that it is well seasoned. (This entire step can be skipped, just add your stock cold. It doesn’t make a huge difference, it will just elongate your cook time by a few minutes.)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet or saucepan. Add the onion, celery and a pinch of salt, and cook until just about tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and the garlic and stir for a few minutes, just until the grains separate and become translucent. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Begin adding the simmering stock, a couple of ladlefuls at a time. The stock should just cover the rice and should be bubbling, not too slowly but not too quickly. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, adding more stock and stirring when the rice is almost dry. When the rice is just tender all the way through but still chewy, usually about 25 minutes after you begin cooking, it is done. Add parsley and season to taste. Stir in the parmesan and remove from the heat. Serve immediately with the leeks on top and a little more parmesan. 

Kari’s Notes: If you want to make this a fully vegan or vegetarian dish substitute the chicken stock with veggie stock and omit the parmesan or add your favorite nut cheese instead.  


Bonus Recipe

This is definitely my favorite part of carving pumpkins! 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (I sprinkled these on top of my finished dish)

2-3 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed
¼ cup butter, melted 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the pumpkin seeds, don’t worry about getting every bit of the pumpkin guts off of the seeds–these bits will become your favorite part after they’ve been roasted. Spread the seeds onto a baking sheet, toss with the melted butter, add salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until they reach your desired doneness. (I like mine pretty dark, but that might not be right for everyone.) Taste and add salt + pepper if needed. Enjoy them for days!

Tip: This can be done with any winter squash seed, in fact my absolute favorite winter squash to do this to is butternut!