This flavorful risotto is such a great little meal served in a roasted mini jack-o-lantern. The warm brown sage butter adds the finishing touches to a dish that is already bursting with personality!
2 mini pumpkins or small pumpkin pie pumpkins (try to find one small enough to eat out of but large enough to make a jack-o-lantern design on the face)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (plus some for brushing pumpkin)
4 strips bacon or pancetta, chopped into small pieces
1/2 white onion, diced
1 cup butternut squash, cut into small cubes (you can buy these frozen, saves a lot of time, or you can roast fresh cubes until tender in the oven)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
11/2 cup fresh parmesan, grated (parmigiano-reggiano)
6-8 sage leaves
3 Tablespoons butter
Preheat Oven to 450. Draw and scrape off your favorite jack-o-lantern design on the pumpkins. Do not cut the design through as you would a normal jack-o-lantern. Cut top off and scoop out seeds (save to toast if you’d like or discard). Clean out the center well, and dry off. Brush all open flesh parts with vegetable oil and place on baking sheet in oven (you can season flesh with salt and pepper or even toss in a bundle of herbs if you’d like!). Roast about 10 minutes, until carved top area looks slightly toasty. Remove from oven and turn off. Do not overcook, or you will be eating out of a mushy pumpkin.
Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a small dutch oven or pot. Add bacon and onions, sautee until bacon looks almost cooked and onions are transluscent. Add butternut squash and cook another few minutes until squash is tender. Add rice and stir with wooden spoon to coat. Add wine and cook about 2 minutes. Start to add chicken stock, 1 cup at a time along with salt and white pepper and simmer. Stir every two minutes or so until stock is absorbed, about 7-10 minutes. Add more stock and repeat until stock is gone and absorbed. Risotto should be cooked but still al dente. Add parmesan cheese and pinenuts. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
While risotto is cooking toward the end, melt the butter in a separate small pan and add sage. Cook, stirring until butter is brown and sage crsipy. Remove from heat, and pour over risotto. Stir it in gently.
Scoop the risotto into your jack-o-lanterns and serve!