This simple recipe for oven baked pumpkin risotto is one I always turn to as Halloween passes and the days grow shorter. I am an unashamed pumpkin collector, filling the house with them as soon as they hit the shelves in late September. This oven baked risotto is a deliciously easy way to use up some of my squash stash!
Choosing Winter Squash for Roasting
Once Halloween and Bonfire Night have passed I gather up my collection of winter squash, slice them, remove the seeds and roast them on trays with a little oil, salt and pepper. Those I don’t want to cook with straight away go into labelled containers in the freezer for recipes in the dark months ahead. My favourite winter squashes for roasting are:
- Butternut Squash – versatile, sweet, slightly nutty and very reliable, butternut is easy to peel or leave the skin on for a chewy bite. It is great in soups, stews and as filling for plump pasta parcels or pastry topped pies. Try it in my butternut squash and red lentil soup or my vegan brownies with pumpkin and pecans!
- Crown Prince Squash – if I had to pick one squash for a desert island it would be this one. Its beautiful silvery blue skin hides bright orange flesh which is sweet, nutty and perfect in all my favourite autumnal dishes. Leave it unpeeled when you roast it and then either spoon the flesh out of the skin or leave it on and eat the lot! Try it in my Pumpkin Curry with Coconut and Cinnamon.
- Harlequin Squash – Naturally high sugar levels mean that Harlequin squashes caramelise beautifully when fried or roasted. This is the squash I used for my pumpkin risotto.
Secretly Amazing Oven Baked Pumpkin Risotto
Oven baked pumpkin risotto is like a guilty secret! Making risotto is supposed to take 20 minutes of constant attention. It is supposed to require the slow addition of stock, careful stirring and lots of love to encourage the rice to reveal its creamy secret. It is not supposed to take 10 minutes on the hob and then be bunged in the oven to do its own thing for 20 minutes or so! But, my friends, while I do love the careful creation of a stove top risotto, oven baked risotto gives it a very good run for its money. It too is creamy, full of flavour and utterly delicious!
Tips For Making Oven Baked Risotto
- Oven baked risotto takes all the stirring out of the making but it does need to be started off on the hob. While the oven is heating up fry up the shallots, garlic, chestnuts and sage. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add sherry or wine for a good sizzle.
- Pour in the stock, add the pumpkin and some pepper. Give it all a good stir, cover and pop it into the oven for 20 minutes.
- It’s important NOT TO PEEK while the risotto is baking. If you do all the steam will escape and meander off around your kitchen. If it meanders about it won’t be cooking rice and the oven baked risotto will be dry and will stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the rice is cooked give the whole thing a vigorous stir to release the creaminess.
- Let it sit, covered for a few minutes.
- If it needs a bit more water add it just a little at a time, stir and check for moist creaminess.
- Season to taste.
Looking for More Squash Recipes? Try:
- Simple Pumpkin Curry.
- Vegan Brownies with Pumpkin and Pecans.
- Roast Pumpkin and Fresh Fig Salad.
- Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup.
- Pappardelle with Squash, Chestnuts, Mushrooms and Sage.
Oven Baked Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Fried Sage
- Large casserole dish with lid
For the Roasted Pumpkin
- 1 Harlequin pumpkin or use any sweet fleshed squash like butternut or crown prince
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Oven Baked Risotto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 3 shallots peeled and diced
- 3 plump cloves smoked garlic peeled and diced. Use fresh garlic if you can't get smoked
- 8 cooked chestnuts finely chopped. I use Merchant Gourmet vacuum packed chestnuts.
- 250 g risotto rice
- 200 g roasted pumpkin finely chopped
- 5 sage leaves finely chopped
- 50 ml vegan sherry/white wine
- 900 ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
For Crispy Fried Sage Leaves (Optional)
- 12 sage leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
To Make the Roasted Pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F
- Slice the pumpkin into approximately 2cm/¾ inch slices, remove the seeds.
- Lay the pumpkin slices on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until browned and fork tender.
- You will need 200g/7oz of roasted squash for the risotto. Spoon the cooked pumpkin from its skin and chop, finely. Any remaining squash can be frozen for later use.
To Make Oven Baked Pumpkin Risotto
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F
- Heat the oil and butter gently in a large, shallow casserole dish.
- Add the diced shallots and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the chopped garlic, sage and chestnuts and cook for a further minute.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring gently, for about 2 minutes until all the rice kernels are covered in oil and glistening.
- Add the sherry or white wine, stir and sizzle for a minute.
- Add the stock, pumpkin and a little black pepper, stir and pop the lid on or cover with foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until rice is cooked. Don't peek under the lid or you will let all the steam escape and stop it from doing its job!
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the nutritional yeast, if liked, and some black pepper. Give it all a good stir.
- Let the risotto sit for a few minutes. Add a little water to loosen if needed. Season to taste.
To Make the Optional Crispy Sage Leaves
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan until hot
- Add the sage leaves 3 or 4 at a time (stand back, they will spit), fry for a minute or two until they change colour.
- Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
- Repeat with the remaining leaves.
- Spoon into individual dishes and top with a slice of roast squash and a couple of crispy sage leaves if liked.
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