Pumpkin risotto with watercress pesto

Pumpkin risotto with watercress pesto

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 4


  • 1 small pumpkin or butternut squash

  • 200g Arborio risotto rice

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 5 shallots, peeled and finely diced

  • 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling

  • 100ml white wine

  • 1 litre hot veg stock

  • 35g watercress

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted

  • 25g cold butter

For the pesto

  • 50g vegetarian parmesan

  • 50g pine nuts, toasted

  • 50g watercress

  • 75ml olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and chop into 2cm cubes. Place half of the pumpkin on to an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before placing into the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft in the middle and starting to colour on the outside.

Next make the pesto by blending together the Parmesan, pine nuts and watercress before slowly adding the olive oil and seasoning to taste.

Take a large frying pan or wok and place on a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and throw in the diced shallots and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Fry gently for a few minutes, being careful not to allow the shallots to colour or burn. Add in the risotto rice and continue to fry for a further few minutes before adding in the white wine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir the rice and shallot mixture until almost all of the wine has been absorbed.

Use a ladle or small jug to pour one quarter of the vegetable stock into the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently. Repeat until all of the liquid has been used up which should take around 20 minutes. Check that the rice is cooked through and add a splash more water if necessary.

Finally stir in the watercress, pumpkin puree, diced roast pumpkin and cold butter then season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into four bowls, scatter over the pumpkin seeds and finally drizzle generously with watercress pesto. Serve and enjoy!

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