Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Sweet Italian Sausage, Apples and Gruyere

(Serves about 4)

Ingredients:

1 small sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced to ½” cubes
2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced to ½” cubes
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons butter, divided use
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio Rice
½ cups white wine
4 cups chicken stock, very hot
2 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed and browned
¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
¼ cup shaved Parmesan Cheese
4 leaves fresh sage, chopped

Preparation:

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil, and drizzle it with a little olive oil.

-In a medium bowl, toss together the cubed pumpkin and the apples with the pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper, honey and 2 tablespoon of the olive oil, and turn them out onto the foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer; place them into the oven to roast for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown, stirring them a bit about halfway through the roasting to prevent them from burning on the bottom (don’t worry if the apples begin to break down); set aside.

-While the pumpkin and apples roast, begin the risotto by preheating a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium/medium-high heat; once hot, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the hot pan to melt together, and then add the chopped onion and sweat for about 2 minutes until translucent; next, add the Arborio rice and gently stir, making sure to coat all the rice grains in the butter/oil for about a minute or two; next, add the white wine to the rice and onions (careful if cooking with flame), and give a gentle stir; allow the wine to reduce until almost absorbed, but not quite completely; next, begin adding the hot chicken stock to the rice mixture, about ½ cup to ¾ cup at a time (about 1 to 1 ½ ladles), stirring gently to incorporate and allowing the rice to slowly absorb the stock (adjust your flame if necessary, so the rice is at a gentle simmer, not bubbling too harshly, evaporating the stock too quickly); once this first increment of stock is mostly absorbed (roughly 3 minutes), add another ½ cup - ¾ cup of stock, stirring and allowing it to almost absorb, repeating this process until the rice is soft and creamy, but not mushy—roughly 23 minutes or so, total (you don’t have to stand over the risotto guarding it the entire time, just don’t walk away for too long as the stock can absorb fairly quickly).

-To finish the risotto and serve, turn the heat off from under the pan; add in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the grated Gruyere, the shaved parmesan, the browned sweet Italian sausage, the roasted pumpkin and apples, and about ½ of the chopped sage; gently fold all ingredients together in the pan, and spoon generous portions of the risotto into bowls, and serve immediately, garnishing each serving with an additional sprinkle of the sage, and an additional sprinkle of cheese, if desired.