Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Watercress Pesto

With its golden and green hues, this quick and easy plant-based risotto is just perfect for this season! The stars of this dish are butternut squash and watercress, which are not only delicious and super colourful, but they are also rich in immune-boosting phytonutrients (like betacarotene) that will leave us glowing from the inside out!

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Weekend Highlights – Spray Painting, Bike Riding & Roasted Vegetable Risotto (with Recipe!)

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend ūüôā

We managed to fit in lots of fun activities this weekend, starting off with a trip to the library on Saturday morning where¬†Lil’ L returned his¬†book¬†and came out with another seven! You can guess who ended up carrying those round Bath. Luckily he had lots of books to keep him occupied while we went for coffees in Neros ūüėČ

I’m still getting a real kick out of how much Lil’ L is enjoying reading.¬† In addition to the library books, he’s also currently reading a chapter of Lemony Snicket¬†to us every night and, on his own, he’s reading Philip Pullman’s ‘The Subtle Knife’ (both books that he picked up from the charity shop for a couple of pounds each).

In the afternoon, after a quick visit to a local village fete, Lil’ L and his friend T did some stencilling and spray art with M¬†in our garage.

T did a space-inspired picture, while Lil’ L sprayed an underwater scene with a scary looking fish!

On Sunday, it actually stopped raining for a few hours and the sun came out. We decided to grab the opportunity to go out for a bike ride along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

To make it more interesting for Lil’ L, we said we’d cycle to the Angel Fish Cafe at Limpley Stoke for lunch.¬† That sure got him moving!

Both the boys fancied baked beans on toast¬†but we were surprised to find that the Cafe only served white bread. No wholemeal, no granary, no seeded bread.¬† That’s no good!¬†Bike riders need big chunky¬†doorsteps of wholemeal granary bread to refuel them, not thin anaemic white slices ūüėČ

Lil’ L asked if he could have an ice cream for dessert. I told him he could have one at the Canal Boat Cafe in Bathampton (back where we started our journey). This was a sneaky move on my part to make sure he peddled fast rather than dawdled all the way back. It sure worked ūüėČ

We’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain lately but, on the plus side, the countryside is looking beautifully lush and green!

The muddy bike bottom really isn’t a good look is it? I’m so glad I’ve finally had mudguards fitted to my bike.

The face was pretty muddy too (and chocolatey!)

And look at those legs!

Back home, Lil’ L headed straight to the shower while I made the most of our sunshine and did a little gardening. I was amazed to find that we’ve actually managed to grow some¬†strawberries that haven’t been eaten by a slug … or snail …¬†or blackbird!

And look what else I came across… a beautiful shimmering blue damselfly taking refuge on Buddha ūüôā

He stayed there for ages!

After a great day out, I cooked us a large pan of roasted squash and red pepper risotto. It was very yummy indeed. Unfortunately, Lil’ L isn’t a huge fan of risotto (he isn’t keen on the texture of Arborio¬†rice) but I pre-empted any negative comments by serving it with some toasted wholegrain tortilla segments. He then proceeded to tuck in with enthusiasm, piling the crispy tortilla high with the risotto, and ate every last grain!

I often find that the addition of a ‘bready’ side dish, like a flat bread, tortilla, or piece of garlic bread can transform a meal for Lil L. I wonder if this is the same for all children?

At the weekend, I made the risotto¬†with an old packet of¬†Arborio¬†rice that needed using up. Next time I make the risotto, I’m going to try the Riso Gallo 3 Grains Risotto Rice which consists of Italian Rice, Spelt and Pearl Barley. As this rice contains wholegrains, it will have a lower GI than regular white risotto rice, as well as other nutrients such as Iron and B Vitamins.

With the butternut squash and red pepper pieces, our risotto did look quite pretty. I also added some peas to add more colour and lovely nutrients ūüôā

Here’s how I made it:

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Risotto

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
350g / 12¬Ĺ oz / 1¬ĺ cups of Arborio¬†rice (or wholegrain equivalent)
1 litre (1¬ĺ pints) hot vegetable stock
300g / 10¬Ĺ oz / 2 cups butternut squash, cut into small slices or cubes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
60g / 2oz / ¬Ĺ cup peas
27g /¬†1oz / ¬ľ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6.
  2. Place the butternut squash, red pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic in a roasting tin and mix well. Roast for 25 minutes or so, until the vegetables are cooked.
  3. Gently heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and 2 remaining crushed garlic cloves, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rice and mix well to coat it in the oil.
  4. Now you have a choice… you can add the stock the¬†authentic¬†way … one ladleful at a time,¬†waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful … or you can do what I do… which is simply to pour all the stock in at once, bring¬†it to the boil then cover it and gently simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I stir¬†in the peas and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender. I’m sure the ‘authentic’ way is the best way to cook risotto,¬†but I find that pouring in all the stock at once¬†works fine for us.¬†The risotto turns out¬†creamy with a little¬†‘bite’, just how risotto should be. Anyway, please¬†choose whichever method¬†suits you best ūüėČ
  5. Once the rice is cooked, mix in the roasted butternut squash and pepper pieces. Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of toasted almonds.
  6. This risotto is delicious served on its own, or with segments of toasted tortilla.

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Have¬†a great week everyone! ūüôā xx

This time last year… Glastonbury!