½ lb bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 qt stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup pumpkin puree (from a french heirloom pumpkin or canned)
1 small bunch fresh thyme sprigs, tied in kitchen twine
freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Add the bacon to a 5-6qt Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) in an even layer over medium heat. After about 3 minutes (once the bacon starts to release some fat and sizzle) turn the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until crisp, about 12 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add the diced onion to the hot bacon fat. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just barely simmering. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Keep the liquid warm over low heat.
Add the sprigs of thyme, a pinch of salt, and a few cracks of freshly cracked black pepper to the onions. Stir in the arborio rice. Allow to toast for a minute or so.
Add the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Start to ladle the heated stock into the pot, one ladle (or about a ½ cup measurement) at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue until you’ve added all of the liquid. This process should take about 20-25 minutes or so.
Remove the sprigs of thyme. Stir in the butter, honey, and a ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Once the butter and cheese have melted, serve the risotto immediately. Garnish with the crispy bacon, remaining ¼ cup of parmesan, and more black pepper.