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Donal skehan pumpkin pancetta risotto
A delicious pumpkin risotto recipe for Thanksgiving. Donal Skehan

Donal Skehan's Pumpkin And Crispy Pancetta Risotto

Donal Skehan's twist on Thanksgiving uses the classic All-American ingredient pumpkin, as well as bacon, to create a non-traditional dish for this American holiday.


This Donal Skehan recipe is perfect for this time of year as it's total comfort food and utilises pumpkin, a popular Thanksgiving ingredient, in a delicious way.

While Thanksgiving is still three weeks away, we can't think of a better way to get your palate ready than with this delicious pumpkin recipe. This pumpkin and crispy pancetta risotto recipe from Irish chef Donal Skehan is sure to impress.

READ MORE: Three Recipes From Donal Skehan's New Cookbook

Speaking about this recipe, Donal said, "I absolutely love this recipe, it is a real cosy dish, which leaves you full, satisfied and warm. Risotto may seem a little tricky, but it’s just a case of giving it your full attention and slowly incorporating the liquid, so give it a go! If you can’t get your hands on pancetta slices, use smoked streaky bacon."

Try out Donal's recipe below. 

Pumpkin And Crispy Pancetta Risotto Recipe

Serves four


  • 850g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, sliced in half and cut lengthways into slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced
  • A few fresh sage leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 slices of pancetta
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 150g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 75ml white wine
  • 150g Parmesan cheese, grated

READ MORE: Donal Skehan's Pumpkin Brownies


  1. Preheat an oven to 220°C.
  2. Place the pumpkin on a roasting tray with the garlic, sage, salt, pepper and half the olive oil, then toss together.
  3. Cover with tin foil and bake until the pumpkin is soft, about 50 minutes.
  4. Ten minutes before the pumpkin is ready, remove it from the oven. Lay the pancetta over the pumpkin and bake in the oven until crisp.
  5. Melt 75g of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan, then gently fry the onion until soft for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and remove the pan from the heat. Stir through until the rice is totally coated with the onion mix.
  7. Return the pan to the heat, add enough stock to cover the rice and simmer, while stirring, until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid.
  8. Continue to add a little more stock at a time until it is all absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes, until the rice has a creamy coating.
  9. Add the remaining butter, roast pumpkin, white wine, garlic, and parmesan. Gently stir through. Serve immediately.

Click here for more Donal Skehan recipes.

Donal Skehan is a home cook, food writer and television presenter who has written five cookbooks. He presents the TV show Kitchen Hero on RTÉ One in Ireland, Grandma's Boy on FOX International and is a judge on BBC's Junior MasterChef. Check out Donal's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website and make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel for more culinary tips, recipes and food travels.

* Originally published in 2015 on our sister website Irish Central