This Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto is decadent, heaven on a plate! This perfect, creamy pumpkin risotto is made without wine and topped with mushrooms and crisp bacon. Making risotto is a lot easier than you think, too! So go on…make this and impress your friends and family with this ultimate comfort food!
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Creamy…rich…pumpkin….bacon…..I mean is this not the essence of FALL, people?!! I can’t think of anything better! Pull up a pile of leaves and chow down on this AMAZING pumpkin risotto recipe, ya’ll!!!
This dish is great ANYTIME, but would also make a perfect holiday “starter” or side dish.
Not a fan of mushrooms? No worries! You can certainly make this delicious risotto without the mushrooms or check out my 14 Simple Substitutes for Mushrooms!
If you’re intimated to make risotto, that needs to end right here! If I can do it, you can do it. Forget all the horror stories you’ve heard. It’s WAY easier than you think. It takes some time…about 30 minutes for the risotto rice (arborio rice) to fully cook–but let me tell you, it’s SO WORTH IT! Promise!
Have an Instant Pot? You HAVE to try my Instant Pot Risotto with Asparagus!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- It’s creamy, pumpkin-y fall goodness…need I say more?!
- Super impressive for a weekend meal and great for entertaining.
- Delicious, creamy risotto that is a lot easier to make than you think!
- Bacon…lots of it. End of story.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto:
Pumpkin: Just pure, canned pumpkin is perfect. Make sure it isn’t seasoned with any other flavors or spices (AKA: Pumpkin Pie Filling!).
Bacon: You can use any kind of bacon you like, but thick cut works best.
Mushrooms: Whatever your favorite type of mushrooms are, use them! My faves are portobello and cremini. Not a fan? Leave them out or check out these 14 Simple Substitutes for Mushrooms.
Garlic: Don’t skimp!! I know 4 cloves sounds like a lot but unless you are totally adverse to garlic, it adds just a wonderful garlicky, rich flavor to this dish!
HOW TO MAKE THIS PUMPKIN AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Whisk together pumpkin and chicken stock.
Step 2: Cook bacon and mushrooms, remove from pot and set aside.
Step 3: Cook arborio rice for a few minutes, with thyme and garlic.
Step 4: Start adding your stock/pumpkin mixture, a cup at a time, stirring occasionally until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat until stock/pumpkin mixture is gone.
Step 5: When risotto looks about like this, you can add more stock/pumpkin.
Step 5: When stock/pumpkin mixture is finished and rice is cooked through, add half and half and Parmesan.
Step 6: Stir until creamy. Risotto should look like this when finished and fully cooked. Plate your risotto and top with bacon and mushroom mixture.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Use a big, non-stick stock pot (8 quarts or bigger). The pumpkin tends to spatter a bit when it’s cooking so a big pot is handy to catch the splatters! I also like to have plenty of room to stir everything. I use my big, nonstick 12 quart stock pot but an 8 quart pot works just fine too. Just make sure it’s non-stick! That is key to making this recipe successful without stirring it every second!
- Make sure to buy PLAIN pumpkin, with no added spices.
- Although this risotto recipe doesn’t need constant stirring (aka: “babysitting”), stirring the risotto every so often keeps it from burning and also releases the gluten from the rice, to help cook and thicken the dish and give it that creamy texture.
- Is someone in your family adverse to mushrooms (I feel you!)?? Just leave them out and use bacon only! Or here are 14 Simple Mushroom Substitutes.
⭐️ CONFIDENCE TIP ⭐️
Stirring in just a sprinkle of nutmeg adds a subtle, little “extra something special” to heighten the cheesy flavor of this dish….and any other cheesy dishes you make in the future!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Absolutely! Traditional risotto always calls for white wine and honestly, wine is never a bad idea! However, it’s totally not needed. Just add in your pumpkin/stock mixture and you’re golden!
Wine is added for a bit of acidity to cut all the creaminess going on in the risotto. If you are really missing that acidity, you can add a squeeze of lemon at the end. I find that fresh chopped herbs (like chives or parsley) work well to add freshness and cut the creaminess, too.
Nope!!!! One trick is to use a NON STICK POT or nonstick dutch oven. That eliminates a lot of the stress of burning the rice if it’s not being constantly stirred. Yes, you do need to stir it from time to time, but you absolutely do not have to slave over the hot stove and stir it every second.
Typically, I will add the stock, and stir for about 30 seconds. Then leave it alone for 2-3 minutes. Come back, stir for another 30 seconds, then add more stock. That’s my rough pattern that works well 🙂
No worries! You just need to cook it a bit more. If you find all the liquid is totally absorbed and your rice isn’t done, add another 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. You can also try turning up the heat just a bit, while stirring.
This delicious pumpkin risotto is heavy on it’s own and can serve as a main dish, so no sides are really needed! However, a simple, light salad like my Simple Arugula Salad is a perfect balance!
You can also plate up smaller portions and use it as a side dish. It would be fantastic on a holiday table! It would also go well with roasted chicken or roasted cornish game hens.
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Store any leftover pumpkin risotto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days (my favorite storage containers!)
- Reheating: To reheat, place the risotto in a small pot with a splash of chicken broth or stock. Slowly heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
- Freezing: If possible, freeze risotto without the mushrooms, as mushrooms typically don’t hold up in the freezer well due to their high moisture content. Freeze risotto only in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag for up to two months. When you are ready to enjoy it again, defrost it in the fridge overnight, then follow reheating instructions above.
Here are a few substitutions you can make:
- Mushrooms: The kind of mushroom you use is totally up to you! Some great ones to try: Cremini mushrooms (AKA: baby bella), portobello mushrooms, or just plain white button mushrooms are work great.
- Chicken Broth or Stock: You can substitute vegetable stock or vegetable broth.
- Pumpkin: You can also used pureed butternut squash in place of pumpkin!
TRY THESE NEXT…
Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto (with bacon!)
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock one 32 oz. paper container
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin purée See Note 1
- 8 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces (about 1/4" thick)
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped use your favorite variety
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice ("risotto rice")
- 4 garlic cloves, minced the best garlic chopper!
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme or 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- chopped chives or fresh parsley (optional, for topping)
- pinch of nutmeg (optional) about 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon
- In a large bowl, whisk together chicken stock (or broth) and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large, non stick stockpot (8 quart or bigger) over medium heat, add bacon pieces. Cook 7-8 minutes until bacon is nearly done and starting to crisp. Then, add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more until mushrooms are tender.
- With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and mushrooms from the pot, making sure some bacon grease still remains (you only need a few teaspoons of bacon grease, so if there is more, feel free to discard it).
- To the pot with the remaining bacon grease, add rice, garlic and thyme. Stir, so bacon grease coats the rice. Cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic starts to soften.
- Make sure your pot is over medium-low heat. Then, start adding your chicken stock and pumpkin mixture to the rice, one cup at a time. Stir for about 30 seconds, then you can leave it alone for 2-3 minutes, then come back and stir another 30 seconds until liquid is absorbed into the rice (see photos in the post above to see what it should look like before adding more stock/pumpkin). The process of the liquid absorbing takes roughly 4-6 minutes.
- Repeat the process of adding a little broth/pumpkin mixture (one cup at a time) until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through. This process takes about 25-30 minutes. If your rice is still undercooked, turn the heat up a bit and add another 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Stir and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in half and half and Parmesan cheese and heat through until half and half is fully incorporated into the dish and cheese is melted (about one minute). Taste, and season with salt if needed. Add a pinch of nutmeg, if using.
- Plate up the risotto and top with lots of the bacon/mushroom mixture and chopped chives or parsley, if using! You can also opt to stir the bacon/mushroom mixture right into the risotto!