Goat cheese risotto cakes with butternut cream sauce, roasted squash and toasted pinenuts


2006 Best British Cheese Recipe Competition



Ingredients :     

1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for roasting squash)25g butter

75g shallots (finely chopped)

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

1 small glass white wine

160g Arborio rice

200ml vegetable stock

2 eggs (lightly beaten)

150g (approx) hard goat cheese (diced or crumbled)

1 x 750-800g butternut squash

3 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

125ml double cream

80g pine nuts

Freshly ground black pepper


Make stock and keep warm on low heat throughout. Place shallots, garlic, olive oil and butter in pan until soft.  Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly.  Next add the wine and boil until evaporated, stirring all the time.  Add stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly over a low-to-medium heat, while waiting until each ladle of stock has been absorbed before adding another. Once stock is completely absorbed the rice should be creamy and slightly chewy (but not chalky) in the middle after about 20-25 mins. Then leave to cool slightly. Grease 4 x 200ml (approx) dariole moulds or ramekins and put a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each. Turn on the oven to 220Cº (425Fº or Gas at 7). Stir beaten egg into risotto and then the cheese. Divide between the moulds and place them on a baking tray.


To make the roasted squash:


Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, peel and cut one half of the squash into wedges keeping the remainder of the squash for the sauce. Toss wedges in olive oil and pepper then roast in a metal pan on the top shelf of oven for 35 mins. After 15 mins, put the risotto cakes onto bottom shelf so that they cook for 20 mins.  Then turn off the oven, remove the risotto cakes but leave squash on the low shelf until required.


While the risotto cakes cool slightly (so easier to turn out), toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, watching and stirring constantly. Transfer them to a small bowl as soon as golden brown.


To make the sauce:


Slice the remainder of the squash into large diced cubes. Boil in 250ml water with cloves and a bay leaf, covered, until the squash is completely soft (about 15 min), then leave it to cool slightly. Remove the cloves and bay leaf, liquidise until smooth, add cream and leave to be reheated for when needed.


To serve:


Heat sauce carefully (so it does not boil) and spoon a pool of sauce into centre of four plates, using about half the sauce. Turn out the cakes, removing the greaseproof paper, and place one in the centre of each plate. Pour more sauce over the top, sprinkle with the pine nuts and arrange the roasted squash on side.  Serve with simply cooked green vegetables of choice. 

Inspiration for this recipe: Any excuse for using this delicious, strong, cheese, which has a chewy, halloumi-like consistency when cooked. Risotto for comfort, cakes for convenience, squash for autumn.