“I’ve never met a risotto I didn’t like, but this is the one that I come to time and again. The sticky squash, slightly sweet Prosecco and salty Parmesan go together perfectly, and the pine nuts give a little bit of welcome texture. It’s a labour-intensive dish, but one that’s totally worth the effort. You definitely get out of this recipe what you put in.”
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
400g Arborio risotto rice
1 butternut squash
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 echalion shallots (or 1 large onion)
1 ½ pints of high quality stock (vegetable or chicken)
A large handful of chopped sage leaves
Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan.
Remove the skin and seeds from the butternut squash and cut up into rough 1 inch cubes. Throw the cubes into a bowl with the chopped garlic and two thirds of the sage leaves. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of rapeseed oil and toss until everything is coated with the oil. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven and set to one side.
Put the stock into a saucepan and put over a low heat to warm.
While the squash is roasting, finely chop the shallots. Take a large pan and fry the shallots on a medium heat in the butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil for a couple of minutes until softened and translucent. Pour in the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly. The grains of rice should begin to turn transparent at the edges. Add the wine to the pan and keep stirring until all of it has been absorbed by the rice. Throw in the remaining sage and season well with sea salt and lots of cracked black pepper.
Next, pour in a ladle of stock and stir continuously until absorbed. Repeat the process until the rice is cooked with a little bite left to it – you may not need to use all the stock. You’re aiming for a creamy consistency. Running a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan should reveal metal for a few moments before the risotto slowly flows back to fill the gap.
Remove the pan from the hob and scrape in the garlicky squash from the baking tray, making sure to get all of the sticky juices. Add the parmesan and a good glug of olive oil before stirring gently and putting on the lid. Leave the pan to sit for 5 minutes before serving. It might feel like agony to wait after all the effort you’ve put in but trust me, it’s worth it. These last five minutes will take the contents of your pan to the next level.
While the pan is sitting there, doing nothing, toast some pine nuts in a dry pan.
Serve the risotto with a scattering of pine nuts, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, a crack of black pepper and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.