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An Italian-Style Christmas Feast

Pumpkin Risotto continued...

1/4 cup plain (no spices or flavoring added) pumpkin puree, canned

1/4 cup shredded or grated, Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 Tbsp finely chopped chives

Directions

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add onions and sweat 4 to 5 minutes or until soft and tender but without any golden or brown color.

2. Add rice, and stir to coat each grain of rice. Toast 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add simmering hot water, a ladle (about 1/2 cup) at a time, and continually stir rice in one direction. Once that water has been absorbed, add another ladle of water and constantly stir in the same direction. Continue ladling the water and stirring in this way until all the water has been absorbed. The rice should be al dente at this point.

4. Add pumpkin puree and stir in the same direction to combine. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

5. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and chives.

Per serving: 201 calories, 6 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 68 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 28%

Yogurt Panna Cotta With Spiced Pears and Pistachios

When it comes to desserts, "I'm a combo," Isabella says. "I love sweet and salty. I went with the yogurt panna cotta" for this holiday menu "because the yogurt has a cool little tanginess and acidity, and it's also very healthy.  Yogurt is universal."

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients for panna cotta

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin

3 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup 1% milk

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1 3/4 cups plain 2% Greek yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

spiced poached pears

2 Tbsp pistachios, roasted

Directions

1. In a small pan, mix gelatin, sugar, and salt. Add milk and vanilla bean seeds, stir together, and let stand 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Place on stove over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer -- small bubbles will form around edges of mixture after about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Set pan aside for 3 to 5 minutes to cool.

3. Pour mixture into a blender or food processor. Add yogurt and lemon juice and blend 20 seconds.

4. Divide yogurt mixture evenly among 6 glass dishes. Cover tops with plastic wrap, and chill several hours or overnight. Top with spiced poached pears and pistachios and serve.

Ingredients for poached pears

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

6 whole black peppercorns

2 whole cloves

2 whole cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

2 pears, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

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