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Special Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops Recipe

risotto is a classic dish that can be used in so many different ways, and this one is no exception! The scallops are seared on a hot griddle until they are crispy and delicious. Once they're added to the risotto, everything becomes a delicious fall favorite.

Our Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops is a delicious, easy-to-follow recipe that will get you in the spirit of pumpkin season. Not only is it a delicious dish, but it’s also really tasty and comforting. We topped our risotto off with some buttery seared scallops and some simple (and highly addictive) candied pancetta, which paired really nicely with the mild and creamy flavor of the pumpkin risotto.

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time48 mins
Total Time1 hr 8 mins
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 975kcal
Author: Teri & Jenny


pumpkin risotto

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground clove
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (vegetable stock is fine)
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 to 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

seared scallops

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 large scallops, cleaned and beards removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

confetti candied pancetta

  • ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces very finely diced pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar



  • Stir together the first six ingredients for the risotto into a small pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from the heat and pour into a blender with the broth, season with salt and pepper and blend.
  • With the motor running, add ¼ cup of butter into the blender, 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  • Pour the chicken broth into a medium pot and warm over low heat.
  • Place a large pan over medium heat and melt the remaining butter and olive oil.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice and sauté for 3 to 5 minute or until each grain of rice is coated in oil and there is a white dot in the center of each grain.
  • Begin adding the warm broth to the rice, one ladle full at a time, stirring frequently.
  • Each time the liquid evaporates, add another ladle of broth and continue to stir.
  • Continue to add liquid and stir until the rice is al dente, 20-25 minutes.
  • Stir in the pumpkin puree until completely combined.
  • Stir in the mascarpone and parmesan until smooth. Fold in the thyme and season with salt and pepper.


  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat.
  • Season each scallop with salt and pepper.
  • Sear the scallops, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side.

candied pancetta

  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until the fat has rendered off and the pancetta has become crispy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Drain all but 2 teaspoons of grease from the pan and return to the stove, over medium heat.
  • Sprinkle sugar over the pancetta and stir until the sugar melts and had coated the pancetta, about 2 minutes.
  • Spread the candied confetti-pancetta onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and allow to cool and slightly harden.

assemble and serve

  • Fill 4 bowls with risotto and top each with three scallops; finish each bowl with a sprinkle of candied pancetta. Serve immediately.


Variations for Our Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
  • The pumpkin puree can be replaced with equal amounts butternut squash puree.
  • The spices in the pumpkin puree can be increased for a deeper pumpkin spice flavor or decreased for a more overall pure pumpkin flavor.
  • The seared scallops can be replaced by sautéed shrimp.
  • Leftover roast chicken makes a great substitution for the scallops, for a non-seafood alternative.
  • Seared shiitake or trumpet mushrooms make a delicious vegetarian option from scallops as well.
  • The candied pancetta can also be replaced with chopped candied pecans, but a couple sprinkles of salt should be added so you don't miss out on the salty contrast the pancetta adds to the candied coating.
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