Pumpkin Risotto Pancake

The other night I made a pumpkin risotto for dinner. Leftover risotto is disappointing if reheated as-is, so I decided to turn the leftovers into a large risotto pancake. I used a couple of tablespoons of applesauce as a binder for the rice, since it acts as a nice compliment to the autumnal pumpkin flavor of the risotto. I rolled the mixture into a ball, and flattened it into my hot cast iron skilled, frying up one large pancake that could be cut into pieces, although one could easily make multiple smaller cakes. The result was a delicious rice pancake– crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. Serve on a bed of wilted greens, and garnish with parmesan.

Pumpkin Risotto Pancake

risotto pancakeINGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups leftover pumpkin risotto (recipe below)
  • 2-3 tablespoons applesauce
  • Arugula (or other greens)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional; omit if vegan)
In a large bowl, mix the leftover risotto and applesauce. Put a skillet on medium-high heat, and lightly coat with olive oil. When the oil has heated, take the risotto mixture, and form a large circle. Place into the pan, and flatten until it covers the area of the skillet. (Or, form into smaller pancakes instead.) Cook a few minutes, until browned on the bottom. Flip, and cook until the other side is browned. Slide onto a plate. Quickly wilt the arugula in the warm pan. Top the risotto pancake with the wilted arugula, and garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Pumpkin Risotto
I don’t use butter or cream in my risotto, so it’s a bit lighter then some other risottos, although still creamy. You can choose to stir in some fresh parmesan or omit that if you’d like a dairy-free course. Traditionally, white wine is used to make risotto, but, not having that on hand, I decided to substitute it with a fall beer– a pumpkin ale, that I thought would  compliment the other autumnal flavors in the risotto. The hops in the beer lend a slight bitterness, but it’s nicely balanced out by the malt and pumpkin flavors, as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg that it’s spiced with. I don’t have exact measurements for the liquid– it can vary, and it’s best to just have a pot of hot stock on the stove that you can ladle in as needed. I used about 3/4 of a bottle of beer, and a lot of additional stock. As with all of my recipes, adjust the spices to your taste. 
  • Olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • Arborio Rice (I used an entire box, which was 17.6 ounces, or just over 2 cups)
  • 3/4 of a pumpkin beer (I used Brooklyn Brewery’s Post-Road Pumpkin Ale)
  • Vegetable Broth (keep warm)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups diced pumpkin or other winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary– remove the herb from the stalks and finely dice
  • 2-4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional; omit if you don’t want this to be a bit spicy)
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Parmesan cheese (optional; omit if vegan)

Place a medium-sized sauce-pan over medium-low heat and coat with olive oil. Add half the garlic and shallots and cook until the garlic is golden. Add the arborio, and coat the rice with with olive oil mixture, letting it toast slightly. Add pumpkin puree and  the pumpkin beer. Stir constantly over medium-low heat. As the liquid is absorbed, add ladles of vegetable broth. Continue until rice is creamy and tender, about 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a separate skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with olive oil. Add remaining garlic and shallots and crushed red pepper. Cook for a minute, and add the diced pumpkin and squash. Add the rosemary and sage, and a splash of vegetable broth.  Cover and cook until squash is tender, turning occasionally to prevent sticking.

Remove the rice from heat. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg, and parmesan, if using. Stir in the pumpkin and squash mixture, and garnish with additional parmesan, if desired. Enjoy!

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