I served this with parsley, pepita (pumpkin kernels) pesto. I normally buy parmesan in the block and freshly grate as and when I need.

Leek and Butternut Risotto


600 grams butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 2 centimetre cubes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek, washed thoroughly, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 plus ½ cup Arborio rice

150ml dry white wine

750ml vegetable stock

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

45 grams butter

Rind from one lemon

A couple of good pinches of chilli flakes

50 grams parmesan cheese grated

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Toss the butternut cubes in a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and spread in a single layer on a shallow tray. Roast for 20 minutes.

Heat butter in a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan. When the butter has melted add the leeks and gently fry for 5-6 minutes.

Add the garlic, a couple of pinches of salt and chilli flakes along with the rice. Mix so the rice is coated with the leeks and butter. Fry for a few minutes before adding the white wine. Turn up the heat and cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Bring heat back to medium, pour the stock a ladle full at a time and mix it in gently, all the while making sure that the liquid is absorbed. By the time all the stock is utilised, the rice would also be cooked sufficiently and risotto should resemble a thick porridge.

Fold through the roasted butternut cubes along with parmesan cheese and lemon rind. Serve immediately with the parsley, pepita pesto.


This is a versatile pesto and you can use it on pasta too!

2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin kernels) toasted

1 cup firmly packed Italian parsley (thoroughly washed and dried)

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

30 grams parmesan cheese, grated

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Rind of one lemon

1 green chilli, chopped

Salt and pepper

60 ml extra virgin olive oil


Place all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor and blitz to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil until a thick sauce is achieved. Scoop into a bowl and serve with risotto.

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