Pumpkin Baked Risotto

Oven-baked pumpkin risotto is just as creamy and delicious as its stovetop counterpart, but requires far less time standing over the stove. // SavvyEat.comOven-baked risotto is just as creamy and delicious as its stovetop counterpart, but requires far less time standing over the stove.

This post contains sponsored content. All opinions are my own.

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to serve when we’re entertaining. I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t like a serving of creamy, cheesy rice with their dinner. I often dish it up as an entree and mix in some diced bacon or shredded poultry, but it also makes for a nice side.

The only downfall to risotto is the time it takes. It usually takes close to an hour to cook a big batch, and most of that time is active. You can’t walk away from risotto and let it simmer away on the stove on its own; instead, you have to stay in the kitchen with your wooden spoon, ready to stir the rice every few minutes.

While the results of all that effort are more than worth it, sometimes I want something a little simpler. When I’m entertaining, I’d much rather let the risotto cook while I prep the appetizers, dessert or a salad. And risotto made the traditional way doesn’t lend itself well to a weeknight dinner at all.

Arborio Rice for Risotto // SavvyEat.com

So today, I’m partnering with the Grain Foods Foundation to simplify the risotto-making process. I’m using the same Arborio rice, turkey stock and pumpkin puree I’d usually use for a fall risotto, but instead of standing over the stove for an hour, I’m sliding the whole pan in the oven to bake and bubble away in there.

The end result is just as creamy as its stovetop-cooked counterpart. The pumpkin still makes the risotto feel extra-cheesy, despite there only being a small amount of Parmesan stirred into the pan. Plus, now I can serve risotto with my holiday meals and still have time to prep all the other courses as well – I’ll just have the risotto in the oven and the sides on the stovetop and be able to prep the salad and drinks while everything cooks. I’d call this a win!

Pumpkin Baked Risotto // SavvyEat.com

 

Pumpkin Baked Risotto

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Pumpkin Baked Risotto

Pumpkin risotto baked in the oven is super simple to make. Now you can serve risotto with your holiday meals & have time to prep all the other courses!

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups turkey stock
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the stock, pumpkin puree and Parmesan. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and bake at 300°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the risotto is creamy and much of the liquid is absorbed. Serve warm.
http://www.savvyeat.com/pumpkin-baked-risotto/

What’s your favorite grain-focused recipe for the holidays?

 
PS: This post was sponsored by Grains for Your Brain, which is backed by the Grain Foods Foundation. All opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help me run Savvy Eats.

Tea-Poached Pears with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry


Tea-poached pears with goat cheese and puff pastry are a elegant and impressive-looking appetizer // savvyeat.com

Poached pears that are sliced and served with goat cheese and puff pastry make for an elegant and impressive-looking appetizer at any cocktail party or holiday dinner. Try poaching them in a spiced black tea for a more complex flavor.

As a self-taught cook, I’m always looking to expand my food knowledge and experiment with new-to-me cooking processes. So when USA Pears said they were looking for bloggers to develop a recipe using poached pears, I decided that the time was ripe (ha, see what I did there?) to experiment with poaching.

The poaching process was far more simple than I had expected. Poached eggs are supposed to be so difficult and intimidating, so I guess I assumed that poaching fruit would be the same. I was wrong – if you can simmer liquid, you can poach pears! A few tips I found that helped things run a little more smoothly:

  1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that they will stand up in the pot without tipping over.
  2. Leave the stems on the pears. They will help you stabilize the fruit as you move them from pot to plate so you don’t have to grab and dent the poached pears.

Red Pears for Poaching // savvyeat.com

Three of my four pears weren’t quite ripe yet (as evidenced by the fact that the neck of the pears didn’t yield when I gently pressed on them), but that was fine. Actually, the underripe pears held their shape well, while the ripe one got a little overly soft. If you can, stick with pears that are barely underripe when you’re poaching them.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing a poaching liquid. I used a spiced black tea- mine was cinnamon-flavored, but something with a little citrus or a chai tea would work just as well. To amplify the spice flavor a little further, I also used my chai-infused sugar, though you could easily use regular granulated sugar instead.

Poached Pears // savvyeat.com

Since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (for the first time since 2010!), I’ve been hunting for some simple recipes I can contribute to my aunt’s big feast that won’t take up any valuable stove or oven real estate. These poached pears with goat cheese and puff pastry are a serious contender, since I could poach and slice the pears and bake the puff pastry the night before, and just assemble them right before serving.

Tea-Poached Pears with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 36 bite-sized appetizers

Tea-Poached Pears with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry

Poached pears are incredibly simple to make, but they look impressive. Serve them with goat cheese and puff pastry for a delicious holiday appetizer.

You will likely have extra pears, unless you are entertaining a huge crowd (in which case you’ll want to up the amount of puff pastry and goat cheese you use!). If that’s the case, refrigerate the leftovers and slice them into oatmeal or ice cream, or make a pear crisp!

Ingredients

  • 4 red or green Anjou pears
  • 3 cups brewed black tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar I used my chai-infused sugar , but regular is fine
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • For the appetizer:
  • 2 packages puff pastry
  • 6 ounces goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright.
  2. Stir the tea, water and sugar together in a stockpot big enough to hold all four pears. You should be able to put the lid on over the pears as well. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the tea, and then toss the bean pod into the liquid as well.
  3. Cover the liquid and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low so that the tea is just simmering.
  4. Place the pears in the pot upright and put the lid back on.
  5. Cook the pears at a light simmer (the liquid should be just barely bubbling) for 20 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the pears to a large platter or bowl, standing them upright if you can. Refrigerate until cool.
  7. While the pears cool, bring the tea back to a boil and reduce the liquid to 3/4 cups, stirring often. Cool.
  8. For the appetizer:
  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F and cut the puff pastry into 2” squares.
  10. Bake the puff pastry for 16-18 minutes, or until golden-brown, at 400°F. Use the back of a small spoon or the handle of a wooden spoon to create an indent in the top of each piece of puff pastry.
  11. Spread 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons of goat cheese into the indent of each puff pastry, and top with two small slices of poached pears. Drizzle with the reduced tea and serve immediately.
http://www.savvyeat.com/poached-pears/

Looking for more poached pears inspiration? Check out these recipes from some of my fellow bloggers:

PS: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.