Creamy risotto layer cake

A perfect veggie main that goes brilliantly with traditional Christmas accompaniments

  • Prep:50 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 15 mins
    (plus weighing down and 10 mins to reheat)
  • Serves 10
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 722
  • fat 40g
  • saturates 17g
  • carbs 75g
  • sugars 13g
  • fibre 6g
  • protein 18g
  • salt 1.53g


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g shallots, half chopped, the rest thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g pack risotto rice (we used arborio)
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1.2-1.4l/2-2½ pts hot vegetable stock
  • about 50g butter
  • 100g vegetarian parmesan -style cheese, finely grated (we used Twineham Grange Itlaian-style cheese)
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1.2kg unprepped weight), peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 200g pack vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 100g pack pine nuts, toasted
  • small bunch sage, chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Savoy cabbages (you only need the outside leaves)
  • 250g tub mascarpone


Make it for one
Make a half quantity of the risotto and filling. Blanch 1-2 outer cabbage leaves, then use to line a lightly oiled medium ladle, leaving an overhanging edge. Fill the ladle with the various layers, then fold the overhanging cabbage over to seal. Turn it out, wrap in cling film, then chill on a plate, join-side down. Reheat in the microwave on medium for 5 mins until hot, or in the oven, wrapped in buttered foil, for 15-20 mins at 180C/fan 160/gas 4.Know-how
It’s really important to cool rice as quickly as possible and reheat to piping hot before serving. This is because, in lukewarm temperatures, naturally present bacteria can multiply quickly to dangerous levels.


  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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