Pom Pumpkin Risotto

¾ cup pomegranate juice
½ cup plus 3 tbsp pomegranate arils
1 4 x 4-inch double-thick piece of cheesecloth and kitchen string
5 cups chicken broth
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrots
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons crushed dried basil
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon crushed dried thyme
1 15-oz. can pumpkin for pie (nothing added), or 1½ cups cooked mashed squash
1½ cups Italian Arborio rice**
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Garnish (optional)
3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Wrap the 1/2 cup of arils in cheesecloth and tie into a bag with kitchen string. Reserve the additional 3 tablespoons of arils and set aside for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, combine the pomegranate juice, cheesecloth bag and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes, covered. Remove cheesecloth bag and discard. Turn heat to low to keep the mixture hot.

Place oil in a large saucepan, and heat until hot. Sauté onion, carrots and herbs for 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and rice. Add 1 cup of the broth mixture and cook until the liquid cooks away stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining broth mixture and cook for 25–30 minutes, stirring very frequently, until rice is thick, creamy, and tender.

Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted. Garnish the risotto with reserved arils and additional cheese.

**Arborio rice is available in the rice and pasta section of large supermarkets. Or, substitute one package of quick-cooking risotto mix for the Arborio rice, following package directions for amount of broth to add and cooking time.

Nutrients Per Main Dish Serving (24.7 oz.): 707 calories, 26g protein, 97g carbohydrate, 27g total fat (9g saturated), 30mg cholesterol, 2038mg sodium, 3346 RE vitamin A, 16mg vitamin C, 423mg calcium, 320mg phosphorus.

Time to Table
25 minutes prep, 40-45 minutes cooking

Makes 4 main dish or 8–10 side dish servings.