3/4 cup (180 mL) dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1/2 cup (28 g) vegan parmesan cheese, grated*
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Optional: pumpkin seeds and extra oil and parmesan, for garnish
Make the Broth: Carefully add the vegetable broth and pumpkin to a medium-to-large pot, then whisk until evenly combined. Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat while you prep the rest of the ingredients; the broth should remain at this temperature when adding to the risotto.
Pan-Fry the Sage (Optional): Add the olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat; if you do not wish to fry additional sage for garnish, skip to step 3. Otherwise, add 4 – 6 whole sage leaves to the oil once warm; pan-fry for 45-60 seconds, until the leaves darken and start to brown only slightly. Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate; set aside until serving. Keep the oil in the pan, to continue making the risotto.
Sauté Aromatics: Add the shallot, garlic, and sage to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the garlic starts to brown. Then, add the nutmeg and arborio rice to the pan and mix well. Toast the arborio rice for 2-3 minutes, until the rice becomes more translucent. Toasting the rice adds more flavor to the final dish.
Deglaze: add the white wine to the pan to deglaze it, scraping off any burnt bits (a.k.a. flavor!) from the bottom of the pan into the wine. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan or been absorbed by the rice.
Make the Risotto: Start by adding 3/4 cup (180 mL) of the warmed pumpkin broth to the pan with the rice. Reduce the heat to Medium-Low and stir the mixture frequently, to ensure all grains of rice are cook evenly. Once you can drag your spoon through the mixture and it leaves a dry path, add an additional ½ cup of warm broth. Repeat this process with the remaining broth.
Quality Check: Begin to taste the Risotto for doneness at around the 14 minutes mark, though it may take 20-25 minutes to cook in total. The Rice will be creamy but have a slightly al dente texture once finished.
Make it Cheesy: Once the Risotto has cooked, turn the heat off and stir in the grated vegan parmesan; season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Serve: Serve warm; I recommend topping each plate with a small drizzle of olive oil, extra sprinkle of parmesan, pumpkin seeds, and a pan-fried sage leaf. Risotto is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and are best reheated on the stovetop with an extra splash of vegetable broth.
Oil-Free: omit the olive oil and use 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable broth to sauté the garlic and onion until translucent, then proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
Substitutions: white wine can be replaced with equal parts vegetable broth. Vegan parmesan can be replaced with 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, or 1/2 cup of this Rosemary Garlic Cashew Cream for an extra boost of flavor! There is no substitution for arborio rice; you can use another rice if you wish, but it will not be as creamy.