People tend to shy away from risotto recipes as being scary and difficult, but I promise this one is very easy. Try a small portion for a starter at your next dinner party with a bit of crispy pancetta ham or bacon on top.
This is also delicious served with pork or veal loin – or for a vegetarian, make a big portion up and add some mushrooms into the recipe. Mushrooms give a meaty quality that can be missing sometimes from vegetarian recipes. Instead of the butternut squash, you could also try sweet potato. Both are equally delicious.
- 1kg or 2lb butternut squash
- 2tbsp butter and olive oil
- 2 large onions
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves
- Around 600g Arborio rice
- 175ml white wine
- 1.5 litres of good quality chicken stock
- Good handful of parmesan
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Chives, parmesan and basil to garnish.
Method of Preparation:
Peel the squash. This might be a little difficult, so buy ready-prepared if there is any available. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into pieces that are the same size, round about 2cm. Drizzle with oil, mince the garlic or cut it very finely and sprinkle half of the garlic on top. You could also use some rosemary.
Cook for round about 45 minutes in an oven on 180C. Squash takes a long time to cook properly, but it will be finished off in the risotto.
Heat the butter and the oil together. The oil is for a high smoking point and the butter is for flavour. Finely dice the onion, as finely as you can, and the remainder of the garlic, and put into the fat. Cook for round about ten minutes, but on a low heat. You don’t want them to brown.
Add the rice. Stir together and cook for around 2-3 minutes until all the oils have been absorbed by the rice.
Add the white wine. Again, stir together. Cook out until the wine is absorbed by the rice.
Keep the stock hot in a saucepan next to the risotto. This is the key, because cold stock will prevent the dish from cooking properly.
Add the stock ladle by ladle. Wait for one to be absorbed before you add anymore.
Add the butternut squash in about half way through this process.
Stir everything together and keep adding the stock until the rice is creamy and cooked with a soup like consistency. You don’t want the risotto to be able to stand up in a mould, this is the wrong texture!
Stir in the cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with the basil and chives, and a little more shaved parmesan.