This recipe was inspired by one of our favourite risotto Italian dishes: Pumpkin Risotto. It is so warming and delicious! We are always looking for inspo to make new and interesting recipes, which are also nutritious and please all family members (big and small). We love Risotto but we are always making very samey Risotto recipes; with ham and peas or with saffron. So trying this new version of it was very exciting indeed! It is a perfect recipe now that the days are growing colder and darker.
One day, we went to visit Italian friends for a play date, who are living in the UK . They made this delicious Butternut Squash Risotto for lunch, which was quickly gobbled up by adults and kids alike. It inspired us to think; what else can I add to Risotto?
We love making this at the weekend, when we have time to all sit together at the dinner table as a family. It involves a bit of prepping with the Butternut Squash, so it is best to cook it when you have time to do so. So be warned, it is not a quick and easy recipe… but it is certainly delicious and very much worth the effort!
It is also vegetarian, so it is perfect to serve to family and friends, and please both meat and non-meat eaters. We have tested it on adults and kids alike and have always gotten very positive feedback – by which I mean, the plates were left sparkling clean! And we never have any left overs as there are usually requests for second helpings. So that is always a good sign right? So we always make a bit extra. If you have leftover, you can freeze it. Or, keep it in the fridge and use to make Arancini Balls the next day.
Standard Risotto is cooked with white wine, but as we are making it to feed our kids we had to remove that ingredient (though you can still keep the bottle out for a cheeky glass whilst you are cooking).
As always, we welcome all feedback, questions and suggestions. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do.
Ingredients – Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids with left overs (if you don’t all have second helpings)
Prep time – 20-30 minutes
Cooking time – 1 1/2 hour to roast the veg, 45-60 minutes for the Risotto
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 large Zucchina
- 1/2 a Medium Leek
- 1 Litre stock – 1 cube Chicken stock + 1 cube Vegetable stock (or 2 cubes Veg stock for vegetarian option)
- 200 gr Risotto (50 gr per person)
- Unsalted butter for cooking
- Parmesan cheese, for generous grating
- Olive Oil, for roasting the veg
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 Fan.
2. Your first task will be to prep the Butternut Squash. Start by peeling and chopping the Squash. This is no easy feat and you will need a sharp butcher’s knife (or other large knife) to do this. Best not to have the kids around for this part of the job. Once you have peeled the Squash, you will need to remove all the squishy pulp and seeds from inside (if you have ever carved a Pumpkin, it is the same process). Now that the yucky part is over, you need to chop the Squash in to small chunks. Add a good amount of Olive Oil to a baking dish and add the Squash chunks. Stir them around so they are coated in the oil.
3. Next, you need to wash and chop the Zucchina. Roughly chop in to small chunks and add to the baking dish with the Squash. Stir around to coat in the oil. Add more oil if you think it looks too dry.
4. Cover the dish with tin foil and add to the oven. You will need to bake for about 1 1/2 hour, until the veg is nice and soft and smushy. Check throughout cooking and stir occasionally. You don’t want it to get stuck or burned to the dish.
5. Whilst the veg is cooking, prep the Leek. Wash and chop it finely.
6. Add a couple of knobs of butter to a large sauce pan. On medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped Leek and cook until nice and soft (about 5-10 minutes). Add the Risotto, stir and coat in the Leek and butter.
7. Add a little of the stock, just enough to cover the Risotto. Reduce the heat and let it simmer. Make sure to stir often. When the stock has absorbed in the Risotto, add a little more stock to cover. Keep doing this process until you have used all the stock and the Risotto has fully cooked. If you feel that the Risotto is still not cooked after you have used all the stock, you can add some boiling water. It should take 45-60 minutes to cook, depending on how al dente you like it. The Risotto should be fluffly but with a bit of a bite to it.
8. The roast veg should be ready by this stage. Add to the Risotto and mix well together. We recommend adding half and seeing how you like it (then you can have left over veg for another meal). You can always add more if you feel it’s needed. It’s up to you how much veg to have with the Risotto.
9. Grate a generous amount of parmesan in a plate. Add to the Risotto mix a bit at a time and stir well.
10. Dish out and grate a bit more Parmesan on top. Dinner is served. Buon appetito!
If you have left overs, you can leave in the fridge and it will keep for a couple of days. It will taste even better as the flavour of the veg and stock will have seeped in to the rice even more.
It is also great for making Arancini (Italian rice balls).
Our toughest critics certainly enjoyed it, so we hope you all do too.