Roast Pumpkin Risotto with Rocket Pesto

23 October 2023 in Recipes

Roast Pumpkin Risotto with Rocket Pesto

Roast Pumpkin Risotto with Rocket Pesto

Serves 4

If you don’t have a mini blender or liquidiser to make the rocket pesto, just finely chop the rocket using a large sharp knife and stir in the Parmesan and olive oil until combined.


  • 1 small pumpkin about 800g (1lb 13oz), peeled, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 litres (2 ½ pints) vegetable stock
  • 75g (3oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 350g (12oz) Arborio rice (risotto)
  • 150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Rocket pesto:
  • 50ml (2fl oz) rapeseed oil
  • 25g (1oz) rocket
  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 ½ tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

Scatter the pumpkin cubes into a large roasting tin and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 15–20 minutes, or until tender.

To make the rocket pesto, place the rapeseed oil in a mini blender or liquidiser with the rocket, garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts. Blend briefly to combine – it should retain some texture; you don’t want it to be too smooth. Season to taste, transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, then chill until ready to use.

Pour the stock into a pan and bring up to a gentle simmer. Heat the remaining 2 table spoons of oil and 50g (2oz) of the butter in a separate large pan. Add the garlic, onion and sage and cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, until softened but not coloured, stir ring occasionally.

Increase the heat and add the rice, then cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously, until all of the grains are evenly coated and the rice is opaque. Pour in the wine and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium and add a ladleful of warm stock. Allow it to reduce down, stirring until it’s completely absorbed. Continue to add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each ladleful of stock to be almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful until the rice is al dente – just tender but with a slight bite; this should take 20–25 minutes.

To serve, stir in the remaining 25g (1oz) of butter and the parsley. Carefully fold in the roasted pumpkin, season to taste and divide among warmed wide-rimmed serving bowls. Drizzle each one with a little of the rocket pesto (any remaining pesto can be served separately in a small bowl) and garnish with the reserved Parmesan.