BAKED RISOTTO with Roasted Pumpkin & Parsley Pesto

May 20, 2019


Risotto is one of those meals that, until now, I rarely made. When cooking for a family, the constant stirring required to massage the starch out of the rice grains, absorbed precious time that could be used more wisely  – cleaning out lunchboxes or folding the washing. Cue, the baked risotto, letting the oven and a bit of elbow grease at the end of cooking do the work of the monotonous stirring.

I have paired the risotto with roasted kabocha squash (pumpkin), the sweetest little orange-skinned squash from the autumn harvest, but the pairings are endless. Some other favourites include;

  • Spinach and Lemon – the zest of 1 lemon and 1 cup packed baby spinach folded through the cooked risotto;
  • Mushroom and Feta/Blue Cheese – add a small handful of dried porcini mushrooms to the risotto when adding the hot stock. Saute 250g brown button mushrooms in a little butter and serve atop of the risotto. Scatter with crumbled feta or blue cheese.

What is your favourite risotto flavour? Please share below, so we can all be inspired for our next dinner plan.

Baked Risotto with Roasted Pumpkin

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • About 600g pumpkin or squash, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • cups risotto arborio rice
  • 1 small glass, 150ml dry white wine
  • 6 cups hot chicken of vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50 g grated Parmesan
  • 30 g butter
  • Cracked pepper to season


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan-forced - if I am cooking more than one thing in the oven I always use the fan-forced function to keep the heat even.
  • First, prepare the squash to roast in the bottom of the oven while the risotto cooks. Toss the cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season and spread in a single layer on a shallow tray. Set aside to roast at the same time as the risotto.
  • In a heavy-based casserole dish saute the onion in the remaining olive oil. It is important the onion doesn't brown, so keep the heat low. Once the onion is soft add the garlic and risotto rice and cook for several minutes until the rice grains are translucent. Add the white wine, turn up the heat and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Pour over the hot stock, bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the middle of the oven. Slide the tray of squash into the shelf below. Set a timer for 15 minutes, then stir the rice well and flip the squash pieces. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
  • When the time is up remove the risotto and squash from the oven. Add the parmesan and butter to the risotto and beat with a wooden spoon until thick and glossy. This step is important to release the starch that would otherwise happen using the stovetop stirring method. Fold through the roasted squash and serve immediately with extra grated parmesan and pumpkin seed pesto.


Pumpkin Seed Parsley Pesto

If you have only ever tried basil pesto you don't know what you are missing. Give this parsley pesto a whirl, you won't be sorry. I make it all through winter when I have an abundance of parsley in the garden. The pumpkin seeds are also a sway from the norm, but a delightful one.
Servings 150 grams
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup firmly packed parsley leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 30 g grated Parmesan
  • Juice of half a lemon - about 3 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 150ml olive oil


  • Place all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and blitz to combine. With the engine running, drizzle in the olive oil until a thick green sauce is achieved. Scoop into a bowl and serve with the risotto.

Join the Conversation

  1. Catherine says:

    Made the baked risotto tonight. It was fab and really easy. My husband said it was the best risotto he’s ever had by a long shot! I loved the parsley pesto too. Have you ever tried roasted beetroot?

    1. Hi Catherine, that is the best feedback! Thank you for taking the time to let me know.
      I have made risotto (although not this baked one) with beetroot and it is divine – nice with feta and pinenuts. You could add some grated beetroot to the rice to give it a nice colour while it cooks, and then fold through the roasted beetroot at the end. Enjoy!

      1. catherine musgrave says:

        Thanks Nicola
        I*’ll give the beetroot a go the next time.

  2. Lesley McGregor says:

    Hi Nicola
    I don’t have a dish that can be used on the stovetop and in the oven- would it work to transfer from a pot to a pre-heated oven dish?

    1. Hi Lesley, that would work just fine, although it may take a little longer to cook as the temperature adjusts in the oven.

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