Feeling the end-of-October chills yet? If so, there is one delicious, warming, healthy, and wholesome Halloween dinner that will keep the ghosts away from your house. With a beautiful blend of spices, this Butternut Squash Risotto is guaranteed to be a hit! If you’re not carving a pumpkin this year, why not shape a pumpkin on your own plate and get the festivities started!
OK, so we don’t celebrate Halloween in a sense that we don’t dress up or go trick or treating. But when it comes to food, I try and celebrate as many occasions as possible just for an excuse to cook something exciting and festive!
We have been cooking this risotto for years. And for me, it is a perfect autumn evening meal… The autumnal colours and flavours of the ingredients have a hug-effect whilst we ponder whether or not it’s finally time to turn the heating on.
We have adjusted this recipe slightly to fit the Halloween theme. And we have definitely spruced up the presentation (no, we don’t normally have our risottos shaped like a pumpkin…)
Start by getting 800ml of stock ready, and keep it warm on the lowest heat. Toast your pumpkin seeds in a small frying pan. If you wish, use pine nuts or pecan nuts. The flavours of both work great in this recipe. There is no need to add any oil when toasting seeds of nuts. Pumpkin seeds will start to make crackling and popping noises when they’re ready. Set them aside for later whilst you prepare your risotto.
Finely chop your onions and garlic. Weigh 300g of butternut squash. Coarsely grate half, and dice the other half into small cubes. Grated squash will add extra vibrant colour to your risotto, making it even more suited for the Halloween dinner table.
Add the oil to a large pan and tip in the onions with a generous pinch of salt. Fry for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Then, add garlic, risotto rice, and grated butternut squash. Stir everything, and fry for a couple of minutes.
I absolutely love cooking with spices and am extremely fond of this particular blend. Cinnamon, chili, paprika, and ground ginger makes this risotto the most deliciously warming dish in our autumn repertoire of dinner recipes. Add all your spices at once and make sure all rice is coated. Your kitchen will smell amazing at this point!
Now, cook your risotto as normal. Add warm stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring occasionaly. Cook until stock is almost fully absorbed before adding more stock. Carry on until you have no stock left.
In the meantime, add some mild-flavoured oil to a frying pan (you can use the same one you used for pumpkin seeds). Fry the diced butternut squash for approx. 15 minutes, until soft and lightly coloured.
When your risotto is cooked (it’s perfect when served slightly al dente), take it off the heat and stir in half of the grated cheese. Divide between two plates, top with butternut squash cubes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and some more cheese.
And here you have it – your perfect Halloween Dinner sorted!
If you’re looking for other comforting meals for cold, dark evenings, try our:
- Spicy Bean Stew with Cheesy Dumplings
- Curried Carrot & Lentil Soup
- North African Spiced Chickpea & Feta Pie
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 300 g butternut squash half coarsely grated; half cut into small cubes
- 160 g risotto rice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- 800 ml vegetable stock
- 80 g cheddar finely grated
- 30 g pumpkin seeds
- vegetable oil
- salt & pepper
- Dissolve your stock cubes/powder in 800ml of boiling water. Keep warm on low heat.
- Toast your pumpkin seeds in a small frying pan (no need to add any oil) until they start to crack and pop. Set them aside for later.
- Add oil to a large heavy-based pan. Tip in the onions, add a pinch of salt and fry for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the grated butternut squash, chopped garlic, and risotto rice. Mix and fry for a minute or two.
- Add all the sices and mix well until all rice is covered.
- Add warm stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring continuously. Cook until almost fully absorbed before adding more stock. Carry on until you have no stock left.
- In the meantime, add a tablespoon of oil to a frying pan. Fry the diced butternut squash for approx. 15 minutes, until soft and lightly coloured.
- When the risotto is done, stir in half of the cheddar. Season to taste and spoon out onto two plates.
- Top with fried cubes of butternut squash, cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.