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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Bolduc

Pumpkin & Saffron Risotto

Updated: Mar 26

Warm up your meals with colours of autumn and seasonal flavours.

Risotto served into a pumpkin bowl • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

Here is my little improvised risotto recipe that I find excellent when pumpkins are in season. Pumpkin and saffron risotto are not things I have invented, but since I was growing my saffron, the idea came to my mind because they are harvested during the same period. It will take many years and more bulbs before I get a good crop of saffron, but it is worth trying when your climate allows it! The saffron spice threads are crimson stigmas from the crocus sativus, a gorgeous purple flower that blooms in mid-Autumn. Each flower produces 3 stigmas, so you need lots of flowers to fill up that little container, which explains why it is expensive. Saffron’s taste is subtle and complex: earthy, grassy, sweet and floral. It can be found in most food shops (just make sure to buy the real one and not the cheap imitation). This little jar in the picture was offered to us by our Iranian friends. It has certainly inspired me to explore more saffron recipes!

Pumpkins, saffron, wine and risotto • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

Risotto is an Italian dish of creamy rice, simmered in broth and wine, by adding a little bit of liquid at a time. I love this one with a crisp and fruity Pinot Gris or Grigio, a white wine variety (made slightly differently in France and Italy, where they originate) that is cultivated in the cool climate wine region where we live (Tumbarumba). In Australia, the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio is stylistic, and both are exceptional to this climate. You can serve risotto on the side of a dish, topped with something or just by itself. If you’ve got some extra sugar pumpkin (or any small rounded winter squash), empty and roast them to fill up with the cooked risotto. It will add extra pumpkin flesh and make a stunning autumn presentation inspired by the native American pumpkin bowls. Enjoy the saffron floral perfume while cooking, and savour the taste of autumn with a glass of this wine!

Autumn colours and flower savours • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

LOCAL PRODUCE FEATURE: This risotto dish features the French-style Pinot Gris of Mount Tumbarumba Vineyards. This beautiful little vineyard is owned by a friendly family who commissioned us to do a four-season photography project. They have a beautiful collection of wine varieties, available locally and online.


This recipe is published in ABC Organic Gardener Magazine issue #141 Autumn 2023.


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