Pumpkin risotto


2 to 4 lb. pumpkin
1/4 c, plus 2-1/2 T olive oil, divided
Sea salt to taste
4 c chicken stock
2 shallots, diced
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
1 leek, diced
1-1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 c dry white wine
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1/3 c pecans, slightly crushed
4 to 6 whole sage leaves
Roasted garlic cloves, optional


Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Cut the pumpkin in half and then each half into quarters. Coat well with about 1/4 c of oil, sprinkle with sea salt and set on a cookie sheet. Roast the pumpkin for an hour.
After the pumpkin has been roasting for about 20 minutes, begin the risotto. Heat the chicken stock in a sauce pan until simmering. In a larger sauce pan heat two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, leeks and fresh rosemary to the oil and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the Arborio and mix to coat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the grains are translucent. Next pour in the white wine and cook, stirring constantly, until reduced?about 1-2 minutes.
Gradually add the simmering chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time and stir constantly until it is absorbed and rice becomes sticky. Increase the heat if necessary. The liquid should be slightly bubbling, but do not bring to a rolling boil. Stir constantly and continue adding stock and stirring until absorbed, about 20 minutes for the whole process. Finally, stir in the parmesan cheese and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
When the pumpkin is ready, scoop the fruit from the peel and cut into one-inch pieces. Add the pumpkin to the risotto and toss well. Remove the risotto from the heat, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
While the risotto is resting, add the pancetta, pecans and sage leaves to a skillet with about a half tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté until the sage and pancetta are crispy and the pecans nicely toasted, about six to seven minutes.
Scoop the risotto into bowls, season with salt and pepper, and top with the toasted sage, pancetta and pecans. Roasted garlic also serves as a delicious topping.