It’s the motif of the season: the ever-present pumpkin. You carve them, decorate them, even drill holes in them, but perhaps the best way to show them off is on the dinner table — as bumpy, colorful serving bowls (the more warts the better).

After carving a couple of massive jack-o’-lanterns for the front step, hollowing out these cute sugar pumpkins was a snap. It only takes a minute but your guests will think otherwise, especially when they lift off the top to find this butternut squash risotto hidden inside.

Risotto has a reputation as a high-maintenance dish, but you seriously don’t need to hover over the stove, stirring your little heart out, while your guests are carousing. A gentle stirring every time you add a cup of stock is just fine. The result is a super-comforting main course that will chase away the evening chill.

Read on for this risotto recipe…

Butternut Squash Risotto in Pumpkin Bowl

If you can’t find black kale, just use regular kale. I used sugar
pumpkins for the bowls, but you can use any kind of edible squash, such
as the green speckled Carnival squash pictured. Makes 4 big servings or
6 small, depending on pumpkin size.

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 head black kale (also known as Tuscan kale or cavolo nero), stems and center ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • sugar pumpkins, hollowed out

Bring 8 cups broth to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir kale into broth and
simmer until tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, and
cut into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a wide heavy pot. Add onion and squash and
sauté until tender, 10 minutes. Add rice, and stir to coat with oil.
Let cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Add wine and simmer until
evaporated. Add 1 cup broth; simmer until all liquid is absorbed,
stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add more broth, 1 cup at a
time, allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding the next. Risotto
should be creamy when done. Remove from heat, and stir in thyme,
rosemary, nutmeg, kale, and cheese. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Transfer to pumpkin bowls, and serve.