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Posted on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Pumpkin risotto with black beans provides savory alternative to Halloween's sweets

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Halloween is usually all about the sugar. But a girl could fall into a diabetic coma without eating a little bit of nutrition before indulging in the treats.

And so, it only seemed logical to make use of some black beans in my pantry, and to combine them with some seasonal pumpkin to offer a dish that showcases the traditional Hallowe'en colors.

This is a Mexican-ish riff on Italian risotto: slow-cooked and stirred attentively in the traditional style, but with a hint of chili and cumin to change the flavor profile. It's festively colored, and a sophisticated treat to enjoy before the holiday sugar-fest.

Pumpkin Risotto with Black Beans

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 cup Arborio rice (the high starch content contributes to the creamy texture of the dish)
1 cup water
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup prepared black beans

Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the cumin and chili powder; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the rice in the spiced oil.

Heat the stock and the wine. Add the liquid to the saucepan in small increments, stirring the rice until the liquid is mostly absorbed and then adding a bit more liquid. When half of the liquid has been added, add the salt and pepper. Continue to add liquid to the rice, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been used up. Test the rice to make sure it is just tender; if it's a bit on the crunchy side still, add a bit more liquid and continue to stir.

Once the liquid has been almost entirely absorbed and the rice is creamy, stir in the pumpkin; then stir in black beans.

Serves 4.

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Mary Bilyeu writes for on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests, meeting new friends ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions, comments, or suggestions:

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.


Sarah Rigg

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Yum! Do you think I could swap in another winter squash, because I have acorn and butternut on hand.

Mary Bilyeu

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

I'm so sorry for the delay in replying! As long as they're pureed, I think either of those squashes would be lovely ... :)