Roasted squash, pancetta & chestnut risotto

Roasted squash, pancetta & chestnut risotto

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 45 mins


Serves 3 - 4

Upping the veg and swapping rice for pearl barley makes a hearty winter warmer that's full of flavour and healthy too. Scatter with Parmesan and enjoy!

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving (4)

  • kcal418
  • fat13g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs62g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre4g
  • protein11g
  • salt0.7g


  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1½ kg), peeled, ends trimmed, cut in half widthways and spiralized into thin noodles
  • 1 ½ 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…

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 100g cooked chestnuts, quartered



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

  • ½ small pack sage, leaves picked



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

  • 8 slices pancetta



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g pearl barley
  • 850ml low-sodium vegetable stock (we used bouillon)
  • parmesan, to serve



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


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the squash with 1⁄2 tbsp of oil, chilli flakes and some seasoning on a large roasting tray. Roast for 15 mins, then add the chestnuts and nestle the sage and pancetta around the squash so that they touch the baking sheet. Return to the oven for 8–10 mins until the pancetta and sage are crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside. When cool, tear the pancetta and sage leaves into pieces.

  2. Heat the remaining oil in a sauté pan over a low heat. Add the shallots and cook for 8 mins until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Tip in the pearl barley, toast for a minute, then pour in the stock.

  3. Working in small amounts, add the stock to the pan and cook, stirring over a medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed by the barley – about 20 mins. When there is only a little liquid left, stir in the roasted ingredients to warm through. Season to taste. Serve with Parmesan.

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Comments, questions and tips

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8th Sep, 2019
5 minutes prep and 45 minutes cooking! I'm a pretty experienced cook and this recipe has taken me over 2 hours!! Haven't spiralised, just cut the squash into small chunks (don't own a spiraliser and chunks gave a perfectly adequate result). Dish tasted fine although a bit too spicy for chilli hating husband. I don't think the pancetta really added much; if I made it again I'd do a vegan version without pancetta or parmesan.
26th Aug, 2018
Really delicious dish. I mostly stuck to the recipe, but I used lardons instead of pancetta (200g) and bought my butternut squash already spiralised (250g). Next time I make it I would use double the butternut squash (it looked plenty in the packet but shrank in the oven) and I’d put the lardons in at the same time as the squash so they crisp up a bit better. The barley did take a bit longer to do, 35-40 mins is probably about right, but the amount of liquid was correct and the end result was worth the wait. Will definitely make again.
3rd Mar, 2017
The idea that the Pearl Barley will be cooked in 20 mins is cloud cuckoo land. 40 mins later and we're getting there. If the recipe wanted pre-cooked barley it should state that.
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Alondra Maradiaga's picture
Alondra Maradiaga
8th Oct, 2018
If you don't have chestnuts, you can use hazelnuts and it will taste great!
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