This Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms and Bacon 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!
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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, 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 dish 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!
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.
- It’s a lot easier than you think!
- Bacon…lots of it. End of story.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms and Bacon:
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 RECIPE: 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 occassinally 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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Absolutely! Traditional Italian risotto always calls for 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 at 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. 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, 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 dish is heavy on it’s own, so no side is really needed! However, a simple, light salad like my Simple Arugula Salad is the 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.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Use a big, non-stick stock pot. 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!
- I love adding just a sprinkle of nutmeg to this dish! It’s just a subtle little “extra” to heighten this cheesy dish.
- Although you don’t need to stir it CONSTANTLY (aka: “babysit”), 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.
- 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.
OTHER PASTA RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
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Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms and Bacon (without wine)
- 4 cups chicken stock one 32 oz. paper container
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin See Note 1
- 8 slices of bacon, cut into small, 1/4" pieces thick cut works best
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped use your favorite variety
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced the best garlic chopper!
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- chopped chives or parsley (optional, for topping)
- pinch of nutmeg (optional) about 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon
- Whisk together chicken stock and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large, non stick stockpot (8 quart or bigger), 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 heat. Then start adding your pumpkin/chicken stock mixture to the rice, one cup at a time. Stir for about 30 seconds, then you can leave it alone for a 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 stock (one cup at a time) until stock/pumpkin mixture is gone and 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!