Pumpkin, pancetta, and risotto? This Thanksgiving recipe from Donal Skehan is a one-stop shop for comfort food this autumn.

Irish chef Donal Skehan told IrishCentral, "I absolutely love this recipe, it is a real cozy 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."

Donal Skehan's pumpkin and crispy pancetta risotto recipe

Serves 4


  • 1 4/5lbs pumpkin, cut into slices
  • A few fresh sage leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 slices of pancetta
  • 1 liter of chicken stock 
  • 5 1/3 oz butter
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 10 1/2oz risotto rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 5 1/3oz parmesan freshly grated
  • A good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

Peel and gut the pumpkin and cut it into slices. Make sure to save the seeds they are super tasty and roasted with a little butter and sea salt.

Place the pumpkin on a roasting tray with the garlic, sage, salt, and pepper, toss together.

Cover with tin foil and bake until soft for about 50 minutes.

Ten minutes before the pumpkin is ready, remove from the oven, lay the pancetta over the pumpkin and place bake in the oven until crisp.

Melt 2 2/3 oz of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft for about 15 minutes.

Add the rice and off the heat, stir through until it is totally coated with the onion mix.

Return to the heat, add enough stock to cover the rice and simmer stirring until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid.

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.

Add the remaining butter, roast pumpkin, white wine, garlic, and parmesan. Gently stir through. Serve immediately.

Donal Skehan is a home cook, food writer and television presenter who has written ten cookbooks. Check out Donal's Facebook, Twitter, and website and make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel for more culinary tips, recipes, and food travels.

* Originally published in 2015. Updated in 2023.