We're big fans of baked risotto for an easy family dinner. Just pop it in the oven and walk away – the flavours will develop and the rice will soak up the liquid to become soft and creamy. This version pairs butternut pumpkin and bacon with the warmth of thyme and the crunch of walnuts. Perfection!
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/ Serving 4 people
/ Serving 4 people
arborio rice(May be presentGluten, Milk, Peanuts, Sesame, Soy, Tree Nuts)
chicken-style stock powder
walnuts(ContainsTree NutsMay be presentGluten, Milk, Peanuts, Sesame, Soy)
classic salad mix
baby spinach leaves
grated Parmesan cheese(ContainsMilk)
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Cut the peeled pumpkin into 2cm chunks. Place the pumpkin and a pinch of chilli flakes (if using) on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast until tender, 20-25 minutes. TIP: Cut the pumpkin to the correct size so it cooks in the allocated time.
While the pumpkin is roasting, finely chop the brown onion. Finely chop the garlic (or use a garlic press). Pick the thyme leaves. TIP: Hold each thyme sprig at the top, then gently run your fingers down to remove the leaves. If the sprigs are very soft, you can just chop them instead. Roughly chop the bacon.
In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook until browned, 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the water, salt, arborio rice and crumbled chicken stock cubes. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Transfer the risotto to a large baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is ‘al dente’, 24-28 minutes.
Wash and dry the frying pan and return to a medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and toast, tossing, until golden, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Cut the lemon into wedges.
In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, 4 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the classic salad mix and, just before serving, toss to coat. Remove the risotto from the oven and stir through the baby spinach leaves, butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir through a splash of water to loosen the risotto if needed. Gently stir in the roasted pumpkin and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Roughly chop the toasted walnuts. Divide the bacon and pumpkin risotto between bowls and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts. Serve with the salad and lemon wedges.