’Tis the Season for Pumpkin Risotto and Pinot Gris

PSL + LTO = $$$pumpkris

How many of the abbreviations do you know in that equation?

We all know that the “answer” is money — and because there are three dollar signs, we can presume that we’re talking about a lot of money.

If you’re a Starbucks customer, there’s a very good chance you know that PSL is the abbreviation for Pumpkin Spice Latte, more than 200 million of which have been sold since it was introduced 14 years ago.

The key to the PSL’s success can be found in the second part of the equation: LTO. In the world of marketing, that stands for Limited Time Only — three powerful words that serve as a call to action and a generator of seasonal sales, whether it’s a Pumpkin Spice Latte in the fall or a signature salad in the summertime.

Today, the pumpkin flavor permeates countless products; some say it can be found in too many products, that things have gotten a bit out of hand. According to this blog in the Washington Post, Trader Joe’s stocked more than 70 pumpkin items last fall.

I drink a few PSLs each fall, and I eat a couple slices of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day. Beyond that, I’m pretty persnickety about my pumpkin input. But one thing I absolutely love is Pumpkin Risotto, a dish that pairs perfectly with Pinot Gris.

Try this version, which can be served either as a main dish or a side dish. As a main course, this recipe yields about 4 servings.



  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • Pinch ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. fresh sage, chopped


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the broth over a low flame.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add oil over medium-high heat, and sauté onion until transparent.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for one minute.
  4. Add rice and one cup of heated broth, reducing heat to low to let broth simmer.
  5. Stir often, cooking until liquid is absorbed into rice. Add one-half cup of broth at a time until rice is tender.
  6. Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup, salt and nutmeg.
  7. Season with pepper and stir until entire dish is hot throughout.
  8. Stir in sage, remove from heat, wait two minutes and serve.
Posted in Wine Buzz
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