Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops

Susan S. Johnson

A cozy and delicious recipe for creamy Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops! This meal is perfect for a special night in or a fun, indulgent weekend meal. It’s a fall favorite for sure!

Pumpkin risotto with seared scallops.

We’re all about getting in the spirit of pumpkin season with our Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops. Risotto is one of my favorite foods EVER. I love it so much because it’s easy to make, extra comforting and so tasty. I also love that there are hundreds of flavor variations for risotto, like our pumpkin version today.

We topped our pumpkin risotto off with some buttery seared scallops and some simple (and highly addictive) candied pancetta. The flavor of the scallops and candied pancetta pair really nicely with the mild and creamy flavor of the pumpkin risotto.

How to Make Our Pumpkin Risotto

There are a couple of components for this recipe, the risotto, seared scallops, and the candied pancetta. All combined, this recipe is incredible.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Risotto with scallops recipe on a kitchen counter.

Process

Pumpkin Risotto

  1. Combine pumpkin purée, heavy cream, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove into a small pot.
  2. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
  1. Remove mixture from the heat and pour into a blender with 1/4 cup stock, season with salt and pepper and blend.
  2. With the motor running, add ¼ cup of butter into the blender, 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  1. Place a large pan over medium heat and melt the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and sauté for 3 to 5 minute or until each grain of rice is coated in oil and there is a white dot in the center of each grain.
  1. Begin adding warm broth to the rice, one ladle full at a time, stirring frequently. Each time the liquid evaporates, add another ladle of broth and continue to stir.
  2. Continue to add liquid and stir until the rice is al dente, 20-25 minutes.
  1. Stir in the pumpkin puree until completely combined.
  2. Stir in the mascarpone and parmesan until smooth.
  1. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Gently stir together until evenly mixed together.

Seared Scallops

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat. Season each scallop with salt and pepper. Sear the scallops, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Seared scallops in a skillet.

Candied Pancetta

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until the fat has rendered off and the pancetta has become crispy. Drain all but 1 teaspoon of grease from the pan and return to the stove, over medium heat. Sprinkle sugar over the pancetta and stir until the sugar melts and had coated the pancetta.
  2. Spread the candied confetti-pancetta onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and allow to cool and slightly harden.

Assembly

  1. Scoop the pumpkin risotto into bowls then top with freshly seared scallops, a sprinkle of candied pancetta and some fresh thyme.
A close up of a bowl of pumpkin risotto with seared scallops and a spoon.

Tools You Will Need

What Kind of Rice is Used to Make Risotto?

Arborio rice, a starchy, short-grain Italian rice is the most commonly known, widely used and available rice used for risotto. Carnaroli and vialone nano are two other varieties of short-grain Italian rice used to make risotto.

Make Ahead Instructions for Pumpkin Risotto and Candied Pancetta

Make Ahead Pumpkin Risotto

The risotto can be made and stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

To reheat, melt a couple tablespoons but into a pot over medium-low heat. Add risotto. Stir in 2 tablespoons stock (per cup of risotto) to risotto to loosen. Cook until risotto has heated through completely. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon mascarpone (per cup of risotto) and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Make Ahead Candied Pancetta

Candied pancetta can be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator or up to 3 days. When ready to use, place pancetta in a skillet over medium-low heat and cook until heated through.

Variations for Our Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

  • The pumpkin puree can be replaced with equal amounts butternut squash puree.
  • The spices in the pumpkin puree can be increased for a deeper pumpkin spice flavor or decreased for a more overall pure pumpkin flavor.
  • The seared scallops can be replaced by sautéed shrimp.
  • Leftover roast chicken makes a great substitution for the scallops, for a non-seafood alternative.
  • Seared shiitake or trumpet mushrooms make a delicious vegetarian option from scallops as well.
  • The candied pancetta can also be replaced with chopped candied pecans, but a couple sprinkles of salt should be added so you don’t miss out on the salty contrast the pancetta adds to the candied coating.
A close up shot of Pumpkin Risotto with seared scallops.

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Pumpkin risotto with scallops and pancetta in a bowl.

Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops

PRINT RECIPE Pin Recipe

A cozy and delicious recipe for creamy Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops! This meal is perfect for a special night in or a fun, indulgent weekend meal. It’s a fall favorite for sure!

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 48 mins

Total Time: 1 hr 8 mins

Servings: 4

  INGREDIENTS  

confetti candied pancetta

  INSTRUCTIONS  

risotto

  • Stir together the first six ingredients for the risotto into a small pot and bring to a simmer.

  • Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from the heat and pour into a blender with the broth, season with salt and pepper and blend.

  • With the motor running, add ¼ cup of butter into the blender, 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.

  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

  • Pour the chicken broth into a medium pot and warm over low heat.

  • Place a large pan over medium heat and melt the remaining butter and olive oil.

  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.

  • Add the rice and sauté for 3 to 5 minute or until each grain of rice is coated in oil and there is a white dot in the center of each grain.

  • Begin adding the warm broth to the rice, one ladle full at a time, stirring frequently.

  • Each time the liquid evaporates, add another ladle of broth and continue to stir.

  • Continue to add liquid and stir until the rice is al dente, 20-25 minutes.

  • Stir in the pumpkin puree until completely combined.

  • Stir in the mascarpone and parmesan until smooth. Fold in the thyme and season with salt and pepper.

scallops

  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat.

  • Season each scallop with salt and pepper.

  • Sear the scallops, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side.

candied pancetta

  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat.

  • Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until the fat has rendered off and the pancetta has become crispy, 3 to 4 minutes.

  • Drain all but 2 teaspoons of grease from the pan and return to the stove, over medium heat.

  • Sprinkle sugar over the pancetta and stir until the sugar melts and had coated the pancetta, about 2 minutes.

  • Spread the candied confetti-pancetta onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and allow to cool and slightly harden.

  NOTES  

Variations for Our Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
  • The pumpkin puree can be replaced with equal amounts butternut squash puree.
  • The spices in the pumpkin puree can be increased for a deeper pumpkin spice flavor or decreased for a more overall pure pumpkin flavor.
  • The seared scallops can be replaced by sautéed shrimp.
  • Leftover roast chicken makes a great substitution for the scallops, for a non-seafood alternative.
  • Seared shiitake or trumpet mushrooms make a delicious vegetarian option from scallops as well.
  • The candied pancetta can also be replaced with chopped candied pecans, but a couple sprinkles of salt should be added so you don’t miss out on the salty contrast the pancetta adds to the candied coating.

Calories: 975kcal Carbohydrates: 108g Protein: 24g Fat: 51g Saturated Fat: 22g Cholesterol: 94mg Sodium: 486mg Potassium: 665mg Fiber: 7g Sugar: 16g Vitamin A: 17509IU Vitamin C: 9mg Calcium: 170mg Iron: 7mg

CUISINE: Italian

KEYWORD: pumpkin, risotto, scallops

COURSE: dinner, Main Course

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