(Where’s the sun) sunny squash risotto

Risotto, risotto, risotto.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. know how to make a basic risotto dish and the sky is the limit, it’s a great base to which you can add a shopping trolley of different flavours, whether that be a refreshing pea and mint version or an oozy mushroom bad boy or this brill risotto with sage and roasted butternut squash. Once you’ve folded the butternut squash into the rice the vibrant yellow colour makes it look like a bowl laced with summer sunshine… or something like that.

Sage and butternut squash risotto

  • 200g Arborio Rice
  • 1 white onion – diced
  • Half a large butternut squash
  • 2 garlic cloves – diced
  • 3 knobs (hehe) of butter
  • Handful of sage leaves
  • Big jug of veggie stock
  • Glass of white wine
  • Half large mozzarella ball
  • Handful of pinenuts

Butternut squash is notorious ball ache to peel (any suggestions welcome) but sooo worth the effort. The original recipe suggests cutting the unpeeled squash into wedges, removing the seeds and chucking in a roasting tin.  The idea being that once roasted the flesh will fall away from the skin. It may have been because I got impatient and took it out of the oven too early but I (and by “I”, I actually mean Ju) had a trial actually freeing the flesh. So to make life easier make sure you leave the squash in a 200 degree oven for at least 50mins.  Before you do that, season the squash wedges with half the sage, salt, pepper, a glug of olive oil and one of the garlic cloves, giving the squash a good rub to coat in the ingredients.

The risotto takes about 25mins to do, so you have a bit of time to kill now, I suggest opening the bottle of white and testing it thoroughly, or maybe reading my other posts… whatever.  When you’ve done that, heat a high sided, heavy based fry pan adding the butter and a glug of oil.

At the same time, make up a full saucepan of stock and keep warm on a low heat (don’t boil it). Soften the diced onion and garlic in the pan before adding the rice. Move the rice around, making sure it is all well covered, add in the remaining sage and season with S&P.

Now comes the exciting bit(!) put the rice on a medium heat and add the stock a bit at a time, keeping it moving, allowing the stock to absorb. Do not get impatient and chuck all the stock in at once, this is bad. Keep repeating the process letting the rice suck up all that stock until the rice is well cooked and the risotto has a gooey consistency. Add the glass of wine to the rice, again allowing to absorb like the stock.

When you are confident the squash is well cooked, remove from the oven, pull the flesh away from the skin and half mash with a fork, it’s best if you keep some lumpy, bumy bits. Take the risotto off the heat and stir through the mozzarella. Most folk suggest using parmesan, it’s just personal preference that I use mozzarella. Drop the mashed squash into the mix and stir through, cover the risotto and let stand for a min. Chuck the pinenuts into a dry frying pan on a high heat and toss for a couple of minutes to toast.

Serve generous spoonfuls of risotto into bowls, topped with pinenuts and enjoy! I didn’t but it probably would also benefit from a sprinkle of raw spring onion and maybe even a bit of lime juice through it as well, just to jazz it up and cut through some of the richness.

Ju is pretty good with the constructive feedback and think she had a point this time.  The risotto had a very overpowering sage taste and was quite salty.  Note to self, go easy on the sage and alter the water/stock cube ratio… plus keep blooming tasting the thing!

Sage and squash risotto

Sage and squash risotto

This comes from a Jo Pratt recipe on the awesome BBC food website.

And if you still need more risotto ideas check Movies and risotto out from the very funny Domestic diva MD.

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