Squash and blue cheese risotto

Squash and blue cheese risotto

It’s autumn here in Andalucía and so pumpkin and squash abound. Whilst a pumpkin purée is a staple dish for this season, I like to mix it up a little and this recipe provides a substantial lunch at little cost. I’ve fused a typical, Italian risotto with a Spanish twist.

Hope you like it – my Spanish friends always request it!


(4 portions)

  • 1 large onion/ 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 20g butter
  • Tablespoon good quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  • 200g blue cheese – my favourites are Gorgonzola or Dolcelatte (less bite with the Dolce/ Dulce; I prefer the Picante)
  • 4 portions of pumpkin/ squash chopped into 1cm cubes
  • A good stock – I tend to use homemade chicken stock, but a good veg stock keeps this dish vegetarian – usually 1 litre or less
  • 4 handfuls of arborio risotto rice (arroz redondo will do)
  • [my now-not-so-secret-ingredient!] small glass of dry aniseed drink (anis seco). If you don’t like a slight aniseed flavour, then a larger glass of good, dry, white wine will do. The pumpkin needs this kick.

Gently warm the butter in a large, shallow pan, adding onion once warmed. Sprinkle the oil. Cook gently so the onion turns almost transparent, never browning or even golden. Add the pumpkin, the anis/wine and enough stock to just cover the contents. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or so. Do the knife test to check the pumpkin is starting to go soft. Add the rice and top up with stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently simmer until rice is cooked (al dente) and liquid is absorbed. Try not to stir. The surface should glisten, thanks to that bit of butter. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the cheese, cut into small cubes. Taste for personal preference before adding all the cheese as you may prefer less than 200g. Cover and leave the dish to absorb the cheese flavour. Take to the table and serve (sprinkle of parsley optional).

Tip: if you prefer a variety of colours in this dish, I recommend a couple of handfuls of frozen garden peas. Stir them in just before removing from the heat so that they don’t overcook, then add the cheese as above.

Julie Wilkinson

About Julie Wilkinson

Julie Wilkinson (Julia to her Spanish friends), semi-retired, active interpreter and advisor to Brits moving to, and now living, in this part of Spain. A big fan of the Serranía de Ronda since her first visit in 1980 and resident since 2018 after leaving her academic career in Computing behind in the UK. A fluent speaker of Spanish (amongst other languages), passionate about music in many forms and a novice birdwatcher, Julie spends her free time enjoying nature photography and hiking these sierras as well as being an active participant in all local fiestas.