8th October 2020

Featured / Food / Xanthe Gladstone

Recipe: Pumpkin, Cavolo Nero and Blue Cheese Spelt Risotto by Xanthe Gladstone

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Recipe: Pumpkin, Cavolo Nero and Blue Cheese Spelt Risotto by Xanthe Gladstone

Serves: 4

Cooks in: 45 mins

Difficulty: Easy


400g spelt
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
Half a medium pumpkin (or squash)
A handful of cavolo nero
1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
12 leaves of sage
1.4L boiling water
70ml white wine
1.5 vegetable stock cubes (or 2 tsp)
200g Harbourne blue cheese
Salt and pepper


Soak the spelt overnight, or, failing that, at least for a few hours before you cook it. This makes it faster to cook and easier to digest.


1. Preheat your oven 200°C.

2. When you are ready to start cooking, put your half pumpkin in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper for about 45 minutes at 200°C.

3. Whilst that’s roasting, dice your onion and cook it on the hob in the butter/olive oil until it is soft. Now add the finely chopped garlic.

4. Drain the soaking spelt and add it to the onions and garlic, giving it a quick stir around. Dissolve the vegetable stock in boiling water, then add it a little at a time to the spelt. You want to make sure the water has mostly been absorbed by the spelt before adding any more. This whole process should take about 40 minutes.

5. Once all of the water has been absorbed by the spelt, add the white wine and season well. Let the spelt absorb all of the wine.

6. While that’s cooking you can make your crispy sage. Add a little bit of olive oil to a hot frying pan, along with the whole sage leaves, and cook until crispy. These will be a delicious topping for your risotto.

7. Once the pumpkin is soft, cut it in half again and scoop one half out of its skin, adding it to the spelt in spoonfuls. Keep the other half in slices as they will go on top of the risotto with the sage. At this point you can also add the finely chopped cavolo nero, letting it cook for a couple of minutes.

8. Check that the spelt is cooked and whether it needs any more seasoning. If you don’t think it’s cooked, add some more boiling water a little at a time. If you think it’s ready, take it off the heat and add half of the roughly chopped Harbourne blue cheese.

9. Serve with a slice of pumpkin, a few leaves of crispy sage, and some extra blue cheese on top.

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Xanthe Gladstone

Xanthe Gladstone is Director of Food and Food Sustainability at The Good Life Experience, Glen Dye Cabins and Cottages and custodian of The Walled Garden at Hawarden. Xanthe is our resident organic vegetable grower. She ensures the high standard of all food matters, in terms of organic, local and seasonal across the Good Life Society and works constantly to improve our food sustainability, combatting food waste and increasing transparency.

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