Cheesy Pumpkin & Cranberry Swirl Risotto

This pumpkin and cranberry swirled risotto is basically a bowl full of the fall holidays. Whether it’s a cold weather party side, Thanksgiving dinner addition, or new item on your Christmas menu, this is a decadent, cheesy side dish that your friends and family will love. Pumpkin is a very delicate addition to my go to risotto that gives it a creaminess without the heavy cream. The cranberry sauce swirl is an unlikely but sweet and colorful surprise that can also be used on the side for the rest of the meal. Crisp fall flavors and colors make this one of my new go to dishes for this entertaining season.

Prep Time
Cook Time
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, diced into 1/2
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 orange, zest and juiced
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup grated gouda cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. goat cheese
  • Sweet & Cinnamon Spiced Cranberry Sauce:
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries or 3 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juiced
  • To Garnish: grated parmesan cheese or grated gouda cheese
  1. In a small sauce pan, combine all of the cranberry sauce ingredients. Cover and cook on medium/low until it thickens and forms a nice sauce, about 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure it is not burning on the bottom of the pan. If it seems to stick and burn, turn down heat. If it is very liquid-y after 30 minutes, take off the top and allow to cook for another 10-15.
  2. Meanwhile make the risotto.
  3. In a medium sized, deep rimmed saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter. Once butter has melted, add in the chopped onions and stir to coat. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally until they are translucent.
  4. Add in the garlic and the pumpkin pie seasoning. Stir to coat and cook for 1 minute. Add in the arborio rice and stir to coat. Allow to toast slightly, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the white wine, stirring to get all bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Allow to cook down for about 5 minutes. Add in the orange zest and then the juice. Stir and allow to cook for another couple of minutes.
  6. Turn down heat to low and add in 1 cup of ¬†chicken or veggie stock. Stirring occasionally, allow to cook down. After about 7 minutes, add in another cup of stock and 1/2 of the pumpkin puree and stir. Allow to cook down for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Once it begins to really thicken, add in another cup of stock and the remaining pumpkin puree. Stir to make sure all of the puree is nicely incorporated into the stock. Allow to cook for another 15 minutes on low, stirring every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add in the cheese and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the rice is slightly hard still, add in another 1/4 cup stock, stir, and allow to cook for another 7 minutes on low.
  9. At this point, the risotto should be thick and creamy. Add in more stock to thin or continue cooking on low, while stirring, until it thickens to desired consistency.
  10. Once the risotto is at desired consistency and taste (always make sure to season with more salt and pepper before serving), you can serve.
  11. In a large bowl, add in half of the risotto. Add in 2 large Tbsp. of the cranberry sauce. Stir to slightly incorporate. Add int he remaining risotto and another 1 Tbsp. cranberry sauce and stir to incorporate. Garnish with cheeses and greens if desired. Serve with the cranberry sauce.


** Risotta can be made ahead of time and re-heated on the stove in a saute pan with 1/4 cup chicken stock.

** Cranberry sauce can be served with turkey or other holiday dishes as well.

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