Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Butternut Risotto with Crumbled Amaretti

Garnishing a risotto with crumbled amaretti may seem a little risky. Amaretti are small almond biscuits, enjoyed for the first time in the city of Saronno, in Lombardy, and they are traditionally associated with sweet preparations; they’re the perfect dessert at the end of a meal or a great idea to accompany a coffee. But who would think of sprinkling amaretti crumbs on top of a savoury dish?

This risotto is not an unusual experiment, but actually a traditional Lombard recipe. Because the butternut has a sweet undertone, the bitterness of the amaretto actually enhances its taste. A bit of butter and some Parmesan, and this risotto will be ready to convince you, too.

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Carnaroli or Arborio rice: 350 g
  • Butternut: 300 g
  • Butter, unsalted: 30 g
  • Vegetable broth: 1 l
  • White wine, dry: 50 ml
  • Amaretti: about 5
  • Shallots, medium-sized: 1
  • Extra virgin olive oil: to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Prepare the vegetable broth with onion, carrot, celery or any vegetables you have at hand.

Cut the shallot very finely. Heat up a spoonful of oil and brown the shallot.

Clean the pumpkin, peel it and dice its flesh into small cubes. Add the pumpkin to the shallot and cook it over heat in a large pan, stirring continuously. If the pumpkin gets too dry, add a ladle of vegetable broth to prevent it from burning.

Melt 10g of butter in a saucepan and toast the rice in it for a few minutes, stirring it often to avoid the rice burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the wine and let it simmer over low heat.

Transfer the pumpkin and the shallot in a food processor and blend them gently, just about enough to obtain a cream with fairly homogeneous texture and just a few bigger pumpkins pieces. Combine the cream with the rice in the pan.

Keep the rice on low heat, and add the vegetable broth, one ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat and mix the remaining butter, the grated Parmesan and some crumbled amaretti with the risotto.

When serving this risotto, garnish each plate with some whole amaretti and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tip: If you cannot prepare or use some vegetable broth, you can try using unflavoured hot water; the result will be different, but equally satisfying.

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