What you need
- Halloween decorations:
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Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas 6. Cut the butternut squash in half to separate the straight 'neck' from the round base. Peel and dice the straight neck and cut into 1cm cubes Cut the round base down the middle from top to bottom, to create two halves and scoop out the seeds. Place all the butternut squash onto a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until nicely roasted. Scoop the soft squash out of the round butternut halves and mash or blend to create a puree. Reserve the roasted cubes of squash till later.
Whilst the butternut squash is roasting, peel and finely chop the onion, then sauté in olive oil in a 10-30 minutes saucepan over a low heat for about 5 -10 minutes. Once softened, crush the garlic cloves and add for another minute. Add the dry rice and stir through, frying for approx. 2 minutes. Then add a splash of boiling water/stock so that the risotto sizzles. Stir thoroughly. Gradually add a little (approx. 100ml at a time) of the water/stock stirring all the time. With each addition, wait until the rice has absorbed all the water before adding any more.
Add the pureed butternut squash about halfway through cooking, when the rice is beginning to plump up. Stir in to create a beautiful orange risotto. Continue to add the water/stock slowly, stirring often.
Once the rice is soft and has absorbed all the water, stir through the remaining roasted butternut cubes and continue to heat for another couple of minutes, until the butternut squash cubes are warmed through. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir through the cream cheese / soft goats' cheese and grated Parmesan to give a silky texture.
Mash or whizz in a blender to suit your little one's texture requirements - if you need the rice to be runnier just add some milk. For older children and adults the roasted butternut squash cubes add a delicious contrast in texture. This risotto is delicious at anytime of year, but makes a fun centre piece at a Halloween party with the simple addition of a few black olives and some green pepper, to create a spooky pumpkin face! See our serving suggestions.
This risotto can either be served hot in a giant serving bowl with a big pumpkin lantern face on the top. Or the same can be created on a smaller scale in individual serving bowls. Alternatively, you can create a rather fun ghoul-faced army of risotto balls, by adding a little extra cheese, quickly cooling the risotto, then forming to bite-size balls, perfect for little fingers. Decorate each ball with a Halloween pumpkin face, using green pepper and black olives, then put into the fridge to firm up. These are best served cold. For food safety always ensure you cool the risotto very quickly, by spreading out on a large surface, use clean hands to make it into balls and refrigerate as soon as possible. The recipe will make approx. 25 mini risotto balls.