Tag Archives: Risotto

Bright Horizons Butternut Squash Risotto

My love of food and cooking has really rubbed off on my children, Mini Gourmand likes to cook at any given opportunity and has become a rather good baker, Baby Gourmand likes to chop vegetables and has recently participated in an 8 week cooking class where he has been learning about pastry and how to make different sweet and savoury dishes.

Letting your children experiment in the kitchen does have it’s benefits especially when you are so busy with work that you don’t have time to cook dinner!  Armed with a recipe book and a pile of ingredients I sent my children off to make Butternut Risotto.  I’d already looked at the recipe and to be honest it didn’t look right so with a bit of tweaking and the replacement of pudding rice for risotto rice, addition of some salt free stock, mushrooms and some Parmesan cheese they were ready to start.

To make this recipe you will need:
300g Butternut Squash
20ml Vegetable Oil
200g Chopped Onion
4 Chestnut mushrooms chopped (optional)
2 Cloves of Fresh Garlic
400g Risotto Rice
1 Litre of low salt stock (we used chicken)
400g Haricot Beans
100g Fresh Spinach
10g Fresh Parsley
Generous grating of Parmesan (Optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.

butternut squash

2. Prepare the vegetables by – peeling, deseeding and dicing the butternut squash, Peeling and chopping the onion, peeling and crushing the garlic, chopping the mushrooms

3. Drain the beans (net weight should be 480g) and chop the fresh parsley.

4. In a large mixing bowl, coat the diced butternut squash in half the oil.

5. Place on a baking tray, making sure the pieces do not overlap. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft.

6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a deep saucepan.

Saute vegetables

7. Add the onion and garlic and heat until it softens.

8. Add the rice and mix well for a few seconds to coat with oil, then pour in one-third of the stock and bring to a gentle simmer.

9. Cook until almost all the stock is absorbed.


10. Add a little more stock and the beans. Cook until almost all the water is absorbed.

11. Continue to add the stock a little at a time until it has all been absorbed and the rice is cooked.

12. Stir in the roasted butternut squash, spinach and half the chopped parsley. Stir regularly until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the grated Parmesan.

butternut squash risotto

13. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley before serving.

This recipe was a huge hit with both Mini Gourmand & Baby Gourmand and Mr Gourmand even had enough left over for lunch the next day.  Knowing that your children are eating a nutritious meal is so important when they are out of the home, If you would like to find out more Bright Horizons recipes you can visit their website, the recipes appear in their nurseries up and down the country catering for children from the age of 3 months up to the age of 5 years.

Pin this recipe for later

butternut squash risotto


Disclaimer: I was sent a cook book, apron and ingredients for the purpose of the review.

Smoked Fish Risotto

I love eating risotto and for me it’s the perfect comfort food, unfortunately it’s ranked in my top five foods that I hate to cook.  I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes me hate making risotto but I think it could be a combination of standing over the pan stirring for half an hour coupled with the fact I always get my timings wrong.  On this occasion the Risotto was a success, a delicious creamy and smoky success.






450ml milk (I used skimmed but any would work)

400g Smoked fish (I used cod)

2 Bay Leaves

6 Black Peppercorns

450ml stock (I used vegetable stock as I had some left over but chicken would work too)

1 onion diced

50g butter (I used unsalted as the fish is salty enough)

300g Arborio rice

1 small bottle of white wine ( the little miniature bottles you can buy)

100g Spinach leaves



Put the fish into a pan with the milk, peppercorns and bay leaves.  Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave the milk to infuse while you start the risotto.

Put your stock on a low heat while you make the risotto.

Fry the onion in the butter in the pan which you will use to make the risotto, cook until it is soft and translucent.  Add the rice to the pan and coat in the butter.  Pour in the small bottle of wine and let it cook until it has evaporated.  Add the stock a ladelful at a time allowing each one to be soaked up by the rice before adding more.  Stir the risotto continually so it does not burn or stick, the heat should be medium to low.

Once you have used all of the stock up you can now move on to the milk that the fish was cooked in.  Remove the bay leaves and peppercorns and start to add the milk a ladelful at a time.  You probably wont need to use all of the milk and by the time you have a ladelful left the grains should be soft and plump with a small bite to them.

Tear the spinach by hand and gently stir in to the rice, break the fish into large pieces and add them to the rice keeping the flakes as whole as possible. 

This makes enough for 3 people to have a bowl plus extra if needed.  If you are a fan of Kedgeree you will love this!

Fratello’s Jesmond

Mr Gourmand and I had heard mixed reviews about Fratello’s so as it’s just a stones throw away from our house we decided to pop in and check it out for ourselves.
Mr Gourmand had visited the restaurant while dropping his parents off there a number of months prior to our visit and was surprised at how much the interior had changed, we found out off a waitress that the restaurant had gone through a recent refurbishment and Mr Gourmand agreed that it looked a lot more sleek and contemporary.
We decided to go for the house wine which is often just as good as any when you’re not a wine connoisseur (which neither of us are), as Rose wine goes this was actually rather nice.
A bread basket was placed on the table and I must admit I was rather shocked that there was only two small pieces of bread.  I personally love bread and one piece is never enough!
We picked the Marinated Olives (2.95) as one of our starters, quite often restaurants can get something so simple like a bowl of olives so wrong, these olives however were lovely, lots of flavour, plump and juicy, just how I like them.
The Brushetta (£3.50) was topped with a mix of tomato, garlic and red onion.  The bread was crisp, the tomatoes tangy and the rocket salad was beautifully dressed.
I was really looking forward to my Pizza main course after viewing the impressive wood burning Pizza oven.
The Frutti Del Mare Pizza (£9.95) had a super thin base which tasted delicious, I would never usually pay over £6 for a pizza and although the seafood was fresh and the whole pizza was very tasty it was not exceptional enough for me to warrant paying £3 more than I would usually pay for a pizza.
Mr Gourmand picked the Risotto Marinara (£12.95) which was delicious, I managed to grab a small fork of the creamy rice before Mr Gourmand devoured the whole bowl.  There was a fair amount of seafood in the risotto but only one scallop.
Our Waitress had recommended that we order a side of hand cut chips which were actually amazing!  Some people will argue that hand cut chips are just chips but these were something else!
If you are staying at the attached hotel or visiting Zio bar for drinks it will be the perfect place for you to go for food if you don’t wish to venture into Jesmond or Newcastle for a meal.
Fratello’s Italian Restaurant
Jesmond Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne