Creamy risotto layer cake

Creamy risotto layer cake

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins (plus weighing down and 10 mins to reheat)

More effort

Serves 8 - 10
A perfect veggie main that goes brilliantly with traditional Christmas accompaniments

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal722
  • fat40g
  • saturates17g
  • carbs75g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre6g
  • protein18g
  • salt1.53g
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 300g shallot, half chopped, the rest thinly sliced



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g pack risotto rice (we used arborio)
    Risotto rice

    Risotto rice

    To create an authentic creamy Italian risotto, the use of specialist rice is imperative. It…

  • 200ml white wine
  • 1.2-1.4l/2-2½ pts hot vegetable stock
  • about 50g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 100g vegetarian parmesan -style cheese, finely grated (we used Twineham Grange Itlaian-style cheese)



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1.2kg/2lb 10oz unprepped weight), peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 200g pack vacuum-packed chestnut, roughly chopped



    'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...' that kitsch old Nat King Cole song perfectly…

  • 100g pack pine nut, toasted
  • small bunch sage, chopped



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • 2 Savoy cabbages (you only need the outside leaves)
  • 250g tub mascarpone


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and fry the chopped shallots over a low heat for 10 mins until well softened. Add the garlic, cook for another min, then tip in the rice. Stir the rice until coated in the oil, and keep stirring until the grains are really hot and starting to hiss. Pour in the wine and stir. Once it’s almost all been absorbed, start adding the stock, a ladle at a time, allowing each ladleful to absorb before adding the next. Stir in a good knob of butter and 25g of the vegetarian Parmesan and season to taste. Tip onto a large baking tray and spread out so that it cools quickly (see Know-how, below). Once cool, keep covered in the fridge. Can be cooked and cooled up to 2 days ahead.

  2. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Tip the squash into a roasting pan. Toss with 1 tbsp oil and roast for about 30 mins until softened and golden, turning it occasionally. Meanwhile, melt another knob of butter in a frying pan, add 1 tbsp oil, then fry the sliced shallots until softened and dark golden, about 15 mins. Stir in the chestnuts, pine nuts and herbs, season, then cook for another 2 mins until heated through. Mix with the roasted squash. Can be made up to 2 days ahead.

  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage, then separate the large green leaves from the heads. You’ll need about 10. Blanch for 2 mins or until just tender, then plunge into cold water and drain.

  4. Line a 23cm springform cake tin with cling film (or, if reheating in the oven, just butter the tin liberally), then line with most of the cabbage leaves, overlapping slightly and leaving an overhanging edge. Mix the remaining vegetarian Parmesan and the mascarpone together, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Spoon half the risotto into the tin (if you’ve chilled the risotto overnight, it’ll need breaking up a little with a fork), then top with the squash mix. Spoon the mascarpone mix over the top, then finish with a second layer of risotto, pressing in firmly.

  5. Fold the overhanging edges of the cabbage over the risotto and then ‘seal’ it in with the remaining leaves. Cover with the overhanging cling film; weight down with a dinner plate. Can be made up to 2 days ahead (if risotto is cooked, cooled and layered on the day).

  6. To reheat, turn the cake (still in its cling film) out of the tin onto a microwave-proof plate and cook on Medium for 10 mins or until piping hot throughout. (Microwaving will give you the best results as it keeps the cabbage green and vibrant.) To reheat in the oven, leave the cake in its tin, cover with buttered foil and heat for 30 mins at 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 until hot through.

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Jan, 2013
I've made this yet again and still love it. I agree with Michele that it tends to fall apart when you slice it though, and not sure how to fix that. Cooking the risotto till quite dry seems sensible, as the marscapone makes the dish plenty moist once served. This last time I spun the cabbage leaves in a salad spinner after blanching to get them extra dry, and I made two smaller and thinner 'cakes' to make microwaving more easy.
19th Feb, 2012
I've made this now twice. Wonderful to make and delicious to eat. I have one PROBLEM: How do you cut it without it disintegrating into a blob of food? The cabbage requires a sharp knife to break the fibers, the risotto (for me) ended up oozing out with the pressure of cutting. If anyone has figured this out, let me know! I did try to pack the layers down and weighted it with the dinner plate for an hour. Perhaps you have to make the risotto till it's very very dry? That is counter intuitive to the fact that each dish should be able to stand on it's own...
4th Apr, 2008
PS Two tips: make sure the blanched cabbage is very well-drained before assembling the pie--once in clingfilm any extra moisture on the leaves can make it soggy. And although I love that this can be made beforehand, I have found that it is too thick to microwave all the way through, no matter how long you put it in for--every time I have had to slice it and microwave it in portions, which is not ideal. Next time I plan to make it much wider in diameter and thinner height-wise, so that the microwave can penetrate it and heat all the way through. I usually make it around 10" across and maybe 4.5" high, but I'll try to make it maybe 14" high and 2" across--or maybe split it into two smaller 'cakes.'
4th Apr, 2008
This is my favourite recipe. I have made this five times now. It takes a while to make but is always a hit with veggies and meat-eaters alike. There are a lot of flavours, and I have found some ingredients can be left out if need be. I have only once made it with chestnuts, and it was fine without (though better with). I have used dried sage a couple of times when I couldn't find fresh. Last Xmas I couldn't find marscapone anywhere so used--I think it was creme freche and a bit of cream cheese mixed together (I was desperate), and again it was fine.
20th Jan, 2008
Very good. Made it for thanksgiving and christmas. Everybody had seconds.
7th Nov, 2007
Very tasty.
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