Squash Risotto and Mozzarella Cakes

These cheesey-in-the-middle mozzarella cakes from Jo Pratt are just the job for a light lunch and make a great starter too
Squash Risotto and Mozzarella Cakes
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400 g arborio risotto rice
  • 150 ml white wine
  • about 1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • small handful of sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 85 g parmesan, finely grated
  • black pepper

For the mozzarella cakes:

  • 250 g buffalo mozzarella, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

To serve:

  • rocket salad
  • parmesan shavings


1. Set the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

2. Cut the butternut squash into 6-8 wedges, remove the seeds and place them into a roasting pan. Drizzle half of the olive oil over the wedges. Place the tray in the oven and roast the squash for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Remove from the oven and as soon as it is cool enough to handle scrape the flesh into a bowl and roughly mash it up.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook until it has softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and the rice.

4. Stir until the rice is coated in the oil, and then pour in the wine, stirring continuously until the wine has been absorbed.

5. Add a generous ladle of stock, the sage and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow the stock to simmer, stirring continuously until the stock has almost been absorbed. Repeat this with the remaining stock until the rice is soft but still has a little bite to it. The texture should be slightly thicker than it would if you are eating the risotto straight away, so all of the stock may not be needed.

6. Stir in the Parmesan and the mashed squash. Check the seasoning and leave to cool.

7. Once the risotto is cool enough, divide it into 8 portions. Using wet hands, shape each portion around a piece of mozzarella, making sure the mozzarella is completely covered and then mould into a flat cake. Repeat with the remaining risotto portions and sit them on a tray.

8. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden. These can be served straight away with the rocket and parmesan salad or re-heated in a hot oven for about 10 minutes when they are needed.

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