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Pumpkin Risotto with Dried Plum Fonduta

Dried plums have enough boldness to stand up to the cheese and pork in this dish while helping to heighten the flavors of the other ingredients.

 Recipe courtesy of Chef Mark Liberman and the California Dried Plum Board.

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Prep Time   30 min Cook Time   50 min Serves  4-6

Ingredients

Dried Plum Fonduta:

1⁄4 cup milk

1⁄4 cup heavy cream

1⁄4 lb. Fontina cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons butter, cubed

2 egg yolks

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup diced California dried plums

 

Risotto:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1⁄2 cups carnaroli or Arborio rice

1 bay leaf

1⁄2 cup chopped onion

1 cup dry white wine

Salt to taste

4 to 5 cups hot chicken stock, divided

1⁄2 cup grated top quality Parmesan cheese

1⁄2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup diced pumpkin or butternut squash, roasted

1⁄2 cup canned pumpkin

2 links pork Italian sausage, removed from casing, crumbled and sautéed

4 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar


Directions

1.  Place milk, cream and cheese in a pot and cook very slowly over very low heat until cheese is melted and smooth. Add butter slowly, never allowing mixture to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in yolks, one at a time. Season with pepper and stir in dried plums. Set aside and keep warm.

2.  Heat olive oil over high heat in a large saucepan. Add onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add rice and bay leaf and toast gently for 10 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and cook until excess liquid has cooked off.

3.  Add 1 cup hot chicken stock to rice. Cook over medium heat, stirring often but not constantly. Cook until excess liquid is mostly cooked off. Repeat steps two more times depending on rice, it should be firm to the bite.

4.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree and butter. Finish with diced pumpkin and sausage.

5.  Spoon risotto into 4 to 6 shallow bowls and top with Dried Plum Fonduta and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.