Adding Italian Flavor to Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow – here is a suggestion of something you can do to dress up your leftovers.
Risotto is a favorite of mine; winter, spring, summer or fall.  While cooking risotto, I like to use fresh, seasonal ingredients – and with fall comes all things pumpkin.  So, this was my chance to combine one of my favorite dishes with one of my favorite fall flavors.
Risotto con zucca (Risotto with pumpkin)

However, when it came to the Thanksgiving dinner we just had, I knew it would be too much for a first course.  While risotto is relatively simple to prepare it is time consuming and requires my undivided attention for at least 20 minutes.  I decided instead to create a new family tradition.  My plan was to serve pumpkin risotto the day after Thanksgiving, along with all of the other delicious leftovers.  I think it’s a perfect way to add a new element to a meal we’ve already eaten a couple times over by lunch the next day.  I had plenty of left over zucca (pumpkin) from the soup course, which worked out perfectly.  I have officially converted Greg into a pumpkin/squash lover.  If you want to add some Italian flavors to your holiday meal this year, check out my simple recipe.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do. 

INGREDIENTS (serving of 4)

>Olive oil
>One (1) small onion (diced)
>Four (4) cups of chicken stock
>Nine (9) palms of arborio rice (two per person with one extra).  Roughly two (2) cups
>Half (½) – full (1) cup of white wine (depending on taste… and quality of wine)
>Roughly ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese and additional cheese for the table and for garnish
>Third (1/3) stick of butter
>Salt to taste
>One and a half (1 ½) cups of cubed butternut squash (one butternut squash cleaned, peeled and deseeded)

The ingredients
Arborio rice


>Cube the pumpkin and dice the onion

Prepare your pumpkin and onion

>Heat chicken stock in a pot
>On a separate burner, heat olive oil in a large flat pan with high sides.  Add onion and squash until it is softened and the onion is translucent.  While the onion and squash are cooking, add a dash of salt. This could take a little over 5 minutes.  Don’t allow the onions to brown

Watch that the onions don’t burn

>Add the rice and mix together. Stir until the rice is toasted (but not brown) about three – four (3-4) minutes

Stir in the rice

>Add the wine and continue to cook the rice until the wine is absorbed.  After a minute, add a ladle or two of the stock, stirring the rice continuously until the liquid is absorbed

Laddle in the broth

>Continue stirring and ladling the broth for approximately fifteen (15) minutes.  Be sure to taste as you go and add salt accordingly.  The rice should be al dente and creamy

Keep stirring and add more broth once it’s absorbed

>Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese.  Cover and allow pan to sit for five (5) minutes

Stir in the parmesano
Cover and let sit for five minutes

>Serve right away and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Don’t forget to add the grana (grated cheese) and enjoy

PLEASE NOTE – Cooking risotto requires constant attention.  Make sure the table is set and everything else you are serving is ready before you begin the rice.

Don’t forget to combine your risotto with your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Is it possible that the turkey gets better after the Thanksgiving meal?!
Combine whatever sides you have leftover

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this recipe and that perhaps you’ll try to incorporate it into this year’s Thanksgiving!  Let us know if you do and buon appetito!

3 thoughts on “Adding Italian Flavor to Your Thanksgiving Leftovers”

  1. Amy, thanks so much for the comments. Funny you should mention that. I recently spent nearly 3 hours recently trying to figure out a better way to place the typical “share” buttons (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pintrest, etc.). I dabbled with the HTML over and over, but could not get it to work. If you know of any easier way to accomplish this – I am ALL ears!!

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